Kia Motors has employed as its head of styling Pierre Leclercq, a designer who formerly worked at BMW and Great Wall Motor, in a move expected to assist the automaker reverse its fortunes in its leading market China.
Kia and its affiliate Hyundai Motor, together the world’s fifth largest automaker, have been facing decreasing sales in the world’s top automobile market because of political stress between Seoul and Beijing, competition from Chinese brands and a scarcity of popular sport utility vehicle (SUV) models.
As head of design for Great Wall Motors since 2013, Leclercq managed projects consisting of a revamped Haval H6 SUV that was favored “for its refined” style, Kia Motors stated on Thursday.
Leclercq likewise designed BMW’s SUV models X5 and X6 prior supervising the German automaker’s M performance sub-brand.
“Leclercq is among few of star designers who have experienced all of the major auto markets consisting of Europe, the United States and China,” Kia informed.
The visit comes simply 3 months after Hyundai announcement of the recruitment of Simon Loasby, former director of Volkswagen Group China, as its China design head.
Hyundai and Kia have seen their sales drop in two of their biggest markets, China and the United States, harmed by a sedan-heavy lineup in a market powered by SUVs.
In China, Hyundai’s sales dropped 29 percent and Kia’s sales fell 42 percent in the first half of this year.
Belgian-born Leclercq’s new role will be effective at Kia from the end of September, operating in South Korea together with Hyundai’s chief design officer Peter Schreyer, a former Audi designer, and head of the automaker’s design center in Korea Youn Seon-ho.
Leclercq will be accountable for developing Kia’s long-lasting design strategy, while enhancing cooperation between its design networks in the United States, Europe, China and Korea.
Leclercq should reinforce the design of Kia’s SUV line-up, particularly in China, said Sang Alexander Koo, a professor who formerly worked as designer with Kia.
“As he worked for a Chinese business, he knows what type of style Chinese people prefer.”