GLOBAL DESIGN STUDIOS
KIA’S DESIGN IS A PRODUCT OF GLOBAL RESEARCH, because design also needs to be adapted to and aligned with regional sensibilities. Kia is a pioneer in studying trending designs and incorporating them into their cars in a functional manner. Its main design studio is located in Namyang, South Korea, while the satellite design centres are located in Irvine, Frankfurt and Tokyo. These centres focus on research, concept development, sketching, clay modelling, ergonomics and surface development. But what sets apart the home turf in South Korea is its sheer size and cuttingedge technology.
The Namyang Design centre spans over 3.3 million square metres with facilities for everything from planning and conceptualising to bringing Kia designs to life. It also has a design and development centre for powertrains with plenty of test tracks. At the climatic testing centre, engineers can play god and make it rain or snow at will. The highlight of this R&D and design centre, though, is the USD 45 million aero-acoustic wind tunnel. Spanning 8.4 metres, the fan generates wind speeds of up to 200kmph and is acoustically damped in order to measure wind noise around the door mirrors and A-pillars.
The satellite design studios in Frankfurt and Orange County, California also cover the entire process of car design ranging from design planning and design conceptualisation to styling, modelling and colour and material development. These centres analyse global trends and explore the distinct lifestyles in local markets around the world, which will be crucial while developing the mid-SUV for India. The centre in Germany is the first design facility that is independent of sister company Hyundai, and is a bold step forward in Kia establishing itself as an individual and influential brand. It did, after all, give us the Stinger. Meanwhile the California design centre has played a vital role in carving the brand’s success story in USA.