Mr Kang starts with Kia next month and will be based at the Kia Design Center in Namyang, South Korea and will report to senior vice-president and head of the Kia Design Center, Karim Habib.
Mr Kang, who specialises in advanced design planning, was previously creative director at BMW Group Designworks in Shanghai, China, where he led the design development process for a range of automotive products.
He has spent most of his career at BMW and was the lead exterior designer for the 2015 BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage concept.
He will lead the strategic development of Kia’s design by giving shape to future design plans in both exterior and interior design across the entire product portfolio, particularly in electric and electrified vehicles.
His appointment is the latest development in Kia’s move to establish a leadership position in electrification and capitalise on new design opportunities.
Mr Kang was a student of the Transportation Design course at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California and has 15 years’ experience in exterior design.
He has overseen a range of exterior design projects, including research into merging premium vehicle design with future mobility technologies.
“I am honored to join the Kia design team, particularly at a time when the automotive industry is facing such a radical shift,” Mr Kang said.
“I believe Kia will play a major role in defining the new era of design with a wide range of electrified products and a visionary mobility roadmap for the future.
“I’m excited to be part of this journey with the committed design team at Kia to further strengthen its product line and design strategy. I am confident that the knowledge accumulated during my career will contribute to the ongoing transition of Kia, and I am looking forward to working with the team in new creative directions.”
Mr Habib said Mr Kang has a unique understanding of how to merge advanced mobility technology with stunning, modern exterior designs.
“The automotive industry is changing rapidly, and Won Kyu is ideally placed to support Kia’s efforts to tackle the challenges and opportunities we face. He is an incredibly talented designer and is a great fit for our creative Kia design team in Korea.”
The Kia Design Center in Namyang, Korea is the hub of Kia’s global design network, working closely with the brand’s regional design centers in China, Europe and the U.S.
The design headquarters oversees all aspects of Kia design, from conceptualisation and modelling to styling and development of color and materials.
Mr. Kang is one of a number of high-profile design appointments made by Kia Motors in recent years as the brand further strengthens its design capabilities for the years ahead.
Under its ‘Plan S’ strategy, Kia aims to establish a leadership position in the future automotive industry, drawing on R&D expertise in mobility, electrification, connectivity, and autonomy.
By Neil Dowling