Schreyer, who currently holds the title of Kia president and chief design officer as well as president of design for Hyundai, has been largely credited with turning the Kia brand around since being appointed to the job in 2006.
The success of Kia, which in some markets has outgrown sister brand Hyundai, led the Koreans to appoint him as a Kia president, the first non-Korean to hold such title. Shortly after, he was appointed the president of design for Hyundai, further cementing his value to the company.
However, with his new position in charge of both Kia and Hyundai design, questions have arisen as to whether or not his attention would fade from Kia in the future.
“Of course I need to spend a lot of time on Hyundai because Kia I know very well and have been with for several years now. I think I need to put quite a lot of focus on Hyundai in the near future, but I won’t forget about Kia. I will try not to leave Kia alone, I will still push for Kia in the same way,” Schreyer told CarAdvice at the Chicago auto show today.
Schreyer says his dual appointment will make both companies' designs stronger going forward.
“I think it’s a great statement from Hyundai and Kia to put me or somebody else in design into this sort of position, it shows how important design is for them and what a strong will they have to really move forward in design.”
Despite his expanded duties and the politics that are likely to come with it, which are certain to take a toll on Schreyer’s time, he is adamant that he will always put his love of design first.
“I still try to devote lots of work to design... I always sketch. I always have a book with me where if I have an idea [I will sketch].”
Kia’s latest unveiling, the Cerato hatch, is yet another example of the Schreyer influence taking full effect across the brand. The updated Kia Optima, new Soul and Cerato coupe are all expected to make their debut at the New York auto show while the turbocharged versions of the cee’d and pro_cee’d and a potential concept car are headed to Geneva beforehand.
In 2012 Kia Australia's sales grew 22.4 per cent (compared with 2011) to 30,758 units, while Hyundai grew 5.2 per cent to 91,536.