What is it that makes something iconic? What makes Netflix so desirable in a world of online streaming? Why are aficionados ready to pay a premium for an ‘American Cruiser’ or a ‘Swiss watch’ although technology has come a long way since these prized possessions were introduced?The list of these game-changers, which we recognise as icons, could go on and on, if you look across industries, eras and continents. But one thing remains common to them all – it finally comes down to the design. ‘Ground breaking’ in terms of design, an iconic product effortlessly raises benchmarks and forges ahead, while others follow in its wake.And that’s how it is at Kia Motors. It revers design as the process that marries objective, function and economics with aesthetics. And to all these things, Kia adds a sense of excitement and surprise. By researching joy, designing anticipation and engineered technology that safeguards happiness, it crafts cars that go beyond expectations to deliver a thrilling sense of anticipation – a surprise. Claiming this with its tag line ‘The Power to Surprise’, it leaves the world wondering where Kia Motors gets its inspiration from.Take for instance the Telluride from Kia. Just like its namesake in Colorado, the SUV would be quite at home amongst the high plateaus with its off-road design and bold styling. At the same time, its premium interiors, powerful engine and seating for up to eight makes it a family car. Built as an enormous beast, it sports nifty designs for its head and tail lights and a boxy, angular silhouette that makes it interesting to look at and difficult to miss.
Then there’s the ProCeed. Dubbed by the company as a state of mind, it is perhaps an ambassador for the Ceed line-up. Seeking to create something really sporty, Kia went a little bit louder with this model; it took all the ingredients it normally uses but gave it a lower more shooting brake body. Combined with the sporty layout is the very high level interior architecture, which makes it very European. Black leather, red stitching, aluminium details and other subtle finishing touches truly give the ProCeed an instant recognition as a sports vehicle.
Another delight came in the form of the Kia Stinger, which debuted as a true Grand Touring vehicle, complete all-wheel drive, luxury amenities and head-turning design. Right from its design days to the years of tuning and refining on the legendary Nurburgring circuit, there was no detail too small for the team to obsess over; and the result they delivered was simply stunning. There was no contesting its place as an authentic ‘gran turismo’, a car for spirited long-distance driving with its bold style, nimble performance and undeniable luxury.
Kia’s design story would be incomplete without a mention of Sportage, the brand’s global best-selling vehicle. Three far-flung, cutting-edge design studios worked together on the original design of the fourth-generation Sportage SUV. While the endeavour was led by Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany, it received valuable inputs from the company’s design centres in Namyang, Korea and Irvine, California. It’s no wonder then that every facet of the final product – the powertrain, interiors, exteriors, even the upgraded infotainment and active driver aids – was a work of art.
So, where indeed does Kia get its inspiration from? As if in response to the question, the company simply explains that when Magical Inspirations come together, you get Stunning Kia Designs.At the end of the day, the people at Kia seem to truly live by their belief in ‘Magical Inspirations, Stunning Designs’, which, incidentally led the company to win three prestigious Red Dot awards for design. In terms of inspiration, they have looked everywhere –at the astronaut who symbolizes Man’s first step on the moon; the firefly that represents the most luminescent form of nature; the slinky spring where science meets playfulness; the swift yet stable Humming bird; the Ballerina with unmatchable precision, poise and grace; the agile skill and control of a footballer; the quirky and forever young Felix the cat and finally, the powerful face of the mighty Bengal Tiger, from where inspiration for the signature Kia grill emerged.In a nutshell, Kia’s ‘Magical Inspirations, Stunning Designs’, underlines the implicit insight that there is an inspiration behind every great design and there are unique inspiration behind the designs of every Kia car.Disclaimer: The pages slugged ‘Brand Connect’ are equivalent to advertisements and are not written and produced by Forbes India journalists.