Kia appoints ex-BMW man Karim Habib as design chief


Kia has bagged another big name in car design. The Korean carmaker has appointed Karim Habib as senior VP and head of Kia Design Center. The 49-year old Canadian of Lebanese descent, who is most known for his work at BMW, became Infiniti’s chief designer in 2017. He will be based at Kia’s global design headquarters in Namyang, Korea, from next month.

Responsible for the design of Kia vehicles, Habib will oversee the work of Kia’s exterior, interior, colour and material teams; and help determine the future design strategy and direction of the Kia brand. He will be reporting to Luc Donckerwolke, executive VP and chief design officer of the Hyundai Motor Group.

Known for his ability to reflect brand identity in his designs, Habib brings with him more than 20 years of experience leading major design projects at premium brands. Born in Lebanon, Habib studied mechanical engineering at McGill University in Canada, as well as transportation design at the Art Center College of Design in California. He is fluent in English, French, German and Italian.

“Kia is a growing, ambitious brand on a determined path toward electrification and mobility innovation. I am thrilled to be a part of this transformation to strengthen the Kia brand further into the future of the automotive industry, which promises to be full of challenges and opportunities. I look forward to working with CDO Donkerwolke whose work I have admired for many years, as well as the Kia design team that has created some truly remarkable designs,” Habib said.

“SVP Habib will be an asset for the Kia brand with his international background and global experience. We highly appreciate Karim’s talent and experience. He is joining Kia at a crucial moment to project the brand into the future of mobility and to reinforce the young-spirited and motivated design team which has won numerous international design awards,” Donckerwolke said of his new colleague.


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