[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, the nation’s No.2 carmaker, on Oct. 11 said it has tapped Oleg Son, executive design director for PSA Group’s premium brand DS, to lead its design team in China.
The 56-year-old will start his new job as executive director and head of Kia Design China starting next month, reporting to Peter Schreyer, Hyundai and Kia’s chief design officer, and Youn Seon-ho, head of Kia Design Center in Korea.
Son, who oversaw the French carmaker’s design in China during his PSA tenure, will be responsible of setting a new design strategy and roll out China-specific models to lure back consumers in the world’s largest auto market. He will also expand cooperation between its design networks in the US, Europe, China and Korea.
“Son brings extensive experience and understanding of the Chinese market,” Kia said in a statement. “We expect he will play a pivotal role for Kia to make a leap again in China.”
The French-born designer arrives from 30 years of design career at the PSA Group, where he was responsible for designing the Citroen GT Gran Turismo, New C3 and C4, among others. From 2008 to 2011, he helmed the design for Peugeot Citroen Shanghai China, before moving to the group’s luxury marque DS.
“The experience in China has influenced my designer career more than 30 years in the European market,” Son was quoted as saying, adding he took Kia’s job offer without hesitation because it was “a destiny that could not be rejected.”
In a move expected to help the Korean carmaker revive sales in its major global markets, Hyundai Motor Group -- which includes both Hyundai and Kia -- has been poaching many European talents.
Most recently, Kia hired Pierre Leclercq, a former designer at BMW’s M brand and Great Wall Motor, to head its styling.
Earlier in June, Hyundai appointed Simon Loasby, head designer of VW Group China, to lead its design center in China.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com