Posted : 2012-03-29 16:53
Updated : 2012-03-29 16:53

Kia designer refutes claim K9 copies BMW

Peter Schreyer, chief designer of Kia Motors, poses next to a sketch of the automaker’s new luxury sedan, the K9, after a news conference at Kia Cinema in southern Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of Kia Motors

By Kim Tae-jong

The chief designer of Kia Motors refuted Thursday claims that the automaker’s new luxury sedan, the K9, has copied the design of premium European cars, saying high-end vehicles inevitably share similar features.

“When you do a big luxury sedan, you have to use certain elements,” Peter Schreyer said during a news conference at Kia Cinema, a multiplex in southern Seoul. The conference was held to present the automaker’s vision in design ahead of the official launch of its new luxury sedan.

He added that it is a compliment to say that the K9 has European features as it means the car has high design quality.

The remarks were in response to claims that the K9 shares the same “German” look and is especially similar to the BMW 5 Series, an issue that has been raised since teaser images of the new sedan were released last year.

Such allegations are also attributed to the fact that Schreyer started to lead the firm’s design team in 2006, after previously working as a chief designer for Audi and Volkswagen.

The K9 is the latest upgrade by Kia Motors following its K7 and K5 sedans, which will compete with Hyundai Motor’s Equus and Genesis.

Schreyer also emphasized that the K9 is a breakthrough in terms of design, which will open a new chapter for Kia’s next-generation cars.

Based on the design philosophy of “the simplicity of the straight line,” Schreyer has successfully unified the brand’s models that all share family looks with distinguishing grilles, which he calls the “tiger nose.”

“Now, you can easily recognize Kia cars on the street,” he said.

But he went on to say the K9 stands out with its high level of design and delicate details, which combines such characteristics as being powerful, futuristic and stylish, although it keeps the automaker’s basic design philosophy.

“This car is like a dream coming true,” he said. “When I saw it on the street outside our design center, it’s completely different from what I thought. I’m convinced that it’s like my dream coming true.”

Along with new characteristics in design, the new luxury sedan is equipped with advanced features including a head-up display (HUD), which projects key information such as speed and warning signals onto the windshield so that drivers do not need to look at the car’s instruments.

The K9 will be the first Korean vehicle with HUD. Another key feature is its high-tech LED headlamps, which move and optimize the headlight beam in response to vehicular steering and suspension dynamics.

The official launch of the new sedan is scheduled for the first half of the year, but Kia officials say they have not yet decided on the price range.

The new Kia sedan uses rear-wheel-drive; is 5.09 meters in length, 1.9 meters in width and 1.49 meters in height with a 300-horsepower 3.3 liter GDI engine.

Kia Motors is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, Korea’s No. 2 conglomerate.

Together with its sister company Hyundai Motor, Kia has joined the ranks of the world’s top five automakers of late. The two combined to sell more than 6.5 million cars in 2011 and aim to boost that to more than 7 million this year.

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