Kia hires former BMW designer to lead styling

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Kia hires former BMW designer to lead styling


Pierre Leclercq [KIA MOTORS]

Kia Motors has hired a former BMW and Great Wall Motors designer to lead styling and design, adding to the automaker’s growing roster of European hires as it continues its ambitious brand overhaul.

The nation’s second-largest automaker said Thursday that it had hired Pierre Leclercq, who spearheaded the development of several sport utility vehicles at BMW in Germany and Great Wall Motors in China.

“Leclercq pursues creative and dynamic design in cars, and it goes in line with Kia’s design DNA,” the company said in a statement. “Leclercq will participate in all design elements of Kia vehicles that will be sold around the globe.”

The 45-year-old designer from Belgium worked as BMW’s senior designer from 2000 to 2010 and led BMW’s M brand from 2011 to 2013. He is well known for designing BMW’s original X5 and X6 SUV models.

At Great Wall Motors, where he has been working since 2013, Leclercq participated in designing an overhaul of the Haval H6 SUV.

“Leclercq will join Kia Motors at the end of this month and work together with the auto group’s chief designer, Peter Schreyer, and the head of Kia’s design center, Yoon Sun-ho,” the company said. “Together, they will revamp Kia’s mid- and long-term strategy and direction for design. Not only the interior and exterior design for Kia cars, but Leclercq will also be in charge of diverse design innovations from color design to material selections.”

Since 2006, Hyundai Motor Group, which owns Kia Motors, has been working on overhauling its brand identity, recruited Schreyer, a legendary car designer, from Audi and Volkswagen. Schreyer helped boost Hyundai Motor Group’s reputation from cheap styling to sleek design, fitting Kia vehicles with the now signature tiger-nose grille.

Hyundai Motor Group has continued to recruit star designers from Europe. Last year, Hyundai Motor hired Lee Sang-yup to lead its design center. Lee formerly worked at Bentley.

Before that, Hyundai hired maverick designer Luc Donckerwolke to lead its luxury Genesis brand. Donckerwolke had also worked for Bentley.

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