Former Audi designer Peter Schreyer has become the first foreigner to ascend to the rank of President with Korean carmaker Kia.
Promoted from Executive Vice President, Schreyer will be one of three presidents at Kia while retaining his position as Chief Design Officer.
Schreyer's team has revitalised the Kia line-up with the new Sportage SUV and, internationally, the Cadenza and Quoris sedans, Venga light car, Picanto city car, the electric Ray hatch and the all-new Cee'd small car.
The enigmatic designer has also led a raft of concept projects, including the fast Kee, GT and Track'ster machines, the KV7 people mover (a possible Grand Carnival replacement), and the green Naimo and Ray concepts.
Describing Kia's earlier style as "neutral", Schreyer told Reuters in March that his goal was to give the brand a recognisable image.
"I thought I wanted to give Kia a character and a family feel... If you come to a country and you see a Kia, you should recognize it immediately, like you recognize a BMW or Mercedes immediately," he said.
A connecting element across the brand's concepts and production models is Schreyer's "tiger nose" grille - known also as the Schreyer-line grille - which now forms a family face for the range.
Schreyer's influence at Kia has not gone unnoticed. "We should not have let him go," Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech told Automotive News in November.
Partner Hyundai has also been spurred by Kia's design focus, poaching BMW designer Christopher Chapman to lead its California design studio.
Together with Hyundai, Kia's reborn style and technical advancements have contributed to sales growth that makes the partnership the world's fifth best-selling carmaker.
Schreyer says he has no plans to leave the brand - "I kind of feel that I belong to Kia," he told Reuters.
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