Kia President Peter Schreyer to Oversee Global Design for Kia and Hyundai
Less than two weeks after Peter Schreyer’s promotion to president at Kia Motors—one of three president-level executives—he has climbed another step up the corporate ladder. Schreyer now adds the title of president at the Hyundai Motor Group and will oversee the global design strategy for both Hyundai and Kia brands.
Schreyer has transformed the image of Kia through his design leadership and a number of clever hires; some would argue that Kia has surpassed its big brother, Hyundai, in terms of image and design. It appeared as if an internal competition would unfold between the two brands; this amicable competition now can take place under Schreyer’s supervision.
The 59-year-old Bavarian, who was educated in Munich and at the Royal College of Art in London, was a long-time Volkswagen and Audi designer before he moved to Kia in 2006. His switch happened following a power struggle with former VW chief designer Murat Günak, who has since left the company. One of Schreyer’s great designs was the Audi A1X, an internal study that morphed into the 1996 Volkswagen Passat.
At Kia, Schreyer was given carte blanche to shape the brand’s styling direction; among his many achievements there, he came up with the tiger-nose grille that unmistakably identifies todays’ Kias. Most vehicles designed under his tutelage are considered triumphs of design, but not all of them. The recently launched K9/Quoris luxury sedan has been criticised for ripping off BMW and Maserati styling cues, and the new, second-generation Forte suffers from stocky proportions and an awkward interpretation of the tiger-nose grille.
- First Drive: 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo
- Instrumented Test: 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec 5.0 Sedan
- Long-Term Road-Test Update: 2012 Kia Sportage SX AWD
Schreyer’s clout at Kia and now at Hyundai is matched by few of his peers. Former GM chief designer Bill Mitchell enjoyed similar respect, and the same can be said for former Renault chief designer Patrick Le Quément’s congenial relationship with former Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer. Schreyer’s promotion has been encouraged within the design community.
By Jens Meiners