Audi top designer becomes first foreign president of Kia Motors
Schreyer, who joined Kia from Volkswagen AG in 2006 and was subsequently linked to the rise of the Hyundai Motor Co affiliate, was promoted from chief design officer and executive vice president on Friday.
The promotion is a clear sign of Kia and Hyundai Motor's ambition to outdo German rivals Volkswagen and BMW in design - a key part of a strategy that has helped the South Korean duo ramp up sales and gain market share even during the global economic downturn in 2009.
"We should not have let him go," Volkswagen's Chairman Ferdinand Piech told Automotive News in an interview in November.
Born in Germany in 1953, Schreyer was reportedly brought in by then Kia president Chung Eui-sun - the only son and heir apparent of the 74-year-old Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo.
Before joining Kia, Schreyer thought Kia's designs were "neutral."
"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 recognise it immediately, like you recognise a BMW or Mercedes immediately," he said in an interview with Reuters in March.
Schreyer went on to create a "tiger-nose" grille for Kia, previously known for its nondescript but value-for-money image.
In one stroke, the former Audi designer gave a distinct face to Kia models ranging from the
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