Kia Needs More Emotional Flagships: Design Boss

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

Kia design boss Peter Schreyer wants more emotionally-styled flagship products for the brand.

In a sit-down interview at the New York Auto Show last week, Schreyer highlighted the GT concept that was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show a few years back. That design study transformed into the K900, a car that currently sits as the Korean automaker’s top-tier luxury model, targeted at German super-sedans like the S-Class and 7 Series.

But Kia has had several wild concept cars over the past few years, very few of which have made the transition to production. For example, it unveiled the hot hatch Trackster concept in Chicago more than a year ago. The Niro concept seen late last year in Frankfurt is now touring around the U.S. and showcases Kia’s interest in hydrogen drivetrains. Most recently, the brand showed a rear-wheel drive sports car concept in Detroit called the GT4 Stinger.

“I think some how, at some point, we need more of those cars as flagships,” he said in reference to other Kia’s recent stable of concepts. “Halo cars are quite important for the brand image,” he said.

Earlier in the month during a media launch of the 2015 Genesis, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski emphasized how Hyundai and Kia are moving in more distinct design directions.

“The Stinger would be nice. Or a car like that,” Schreyer said. But Kia product planning vice president Orth Hendrick downplayed the possibility of a small sports coupe in Kia’s near future, saying the development costs are probably too high to justify despite a positive reception for the concept.

“These kind of cars are never high number, multi-volume cars. Of course not,” Shreyer said, acknowledging that such a product wouldn’t be a breadwinner for Kia.

But Hyundai and Kia share engineering resources and it’s hard to imagine that the platform underpinning the new Genesis sedan won’t be used by both brands. That could mean more of the same from Kia with an updated K900, but then again maybe not.

Gallery: Kia GT4 Stinger Live Photos

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

More by Luke Vandezande

Join the conversation
3 of 7 comments
  • Turnipweed Turnipweed on Apr 28, 2014

    The only vehicle I want that Kia doesn't make is a Tacoma-sized 4-5 cyl. diesel pickup truck. Many, many pickup truck owners are begging for mid sized trucks with a small diesel.

  • Chris Skalski Chris Skalski on Apr 30, 2014

    I own a 2012 Optima EX, (red) and after two and a half years have had zero trouble, recalls, or problems of any sort. It doesn't steer great, and the suspension needs to be tuned a bit more, but it is indeed a beautiful car. I went to the DC Optima owners meet and greet, where a 2014 SX-T showed up. It is beautiful. The pictures make it look gaudy like TK421 said, but in person with SWP (Snow White Pearl) paint it looks chiseled and of high quality. Really. Gotta see it in person. The Stinger GT above is really nice. I hope at least the general look of it makes it into production, sharing the Genesis platform.