Confirmed in September, Leclerq's appointment follows a four-year stint with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motors and a lengthy tour with BMW.
Leclerq started with Kia on October 1, reporting to Peter Schreyer, President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group, and Seon Ho Youn, head of the Kia Design Center in Korea.
“I have watched the development of the Kia brand closely, and I couldn’t be more excited to become a part of this innovative design team,” Leclerq said of his new role.
“Kia has built a reputation for placing design at the heart of new car development, and I’m eager to work with the talented designers who have made the Kia brand synonymous with bold, energetic and modern vehicle design.”
Graduating with a degree in Transportation Design from California's Art Center College of Design in 1998, Leclerq entered the industry as a designer with Zagato and then with Ford's Ghia studio.
He moved to BMW in 2000, starting as an exterior designer in Los Angeles before moving to Munich in 2004. From 2011, Leclerq was the brand design chief for BMW's M division. Then, from 2013 until this year, he led all design for the Great Wall Motors company.
The Belgian designer is just the latest of the Hyundai group's grabs from premium European brands, with Schreyer himself famously hired away from Audi in 2006 to head up Kia styling before eventually leading the design arm of both companies.
Others in recent years have included designer Luc Donckerwolke - most recently of Bentley but known for designing the Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo supercars - and SangYup Lee - designer of the 2006 Camaro concept and Bentley's recent EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.
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