The new Kia Sportage compact SUV and Kia Optima sedan, which will launch in Europe this year, have received prestigious iF product design awards.
Kia Motors emerged as a double winner at the recent announcement of the iF product design awards, receiving the prestigious design prize for the new Kia Sportage (launched in Europe during August), and for the Kia Optima sedan (European launch from late-2011).
In addition to design quality, the jury also recognises a number of other criteria, including workmanship, innovation, eco-friendliness, ergonomics and safety. One of the main focuses in this year's awards was on the participants' brand image.
These are not Kia's first iF product design awards: last year the Kia Venga was awarded both the iF design prize and the "red dot award", which was also received by the Kia Soul.
"We are delighted and honoured to receive these awards for the Kia Sportage and the Kia Optima. They are further proof of the success of our design strategy," said Benny Oeyen, VP Marketing & Product Planning Kia Motors Europe.
"Kia's brand image today is characterised by first-class design paired with high safety and quality standards, as is clearly demonstrated by the top ratings we regularly receive in crash tests, and also by our unrivalled 7-year manufacturer's warranty across all markets."
Since its launch in 1953, the annual 'iF product design award' has been one of the world's most important prizes for excellence in design. The award has its origins in the product show "Die gute Industrieform" (Good Industrial Design) initiated by the Hanover Trade Show and is now one of the world's largest design competitions.
For the iF product design award 2011, the organisers received 2,756 submissions from 43 countries; with products entered in 16 categories. The Kia Sportage and the Kia Optima won in the category "Transportation Design". The official presentation ceremony for the iF product design awards traditionally takes place on the first day of CeBIT, 1 March 2011.
This day will also see the opening of a special exhibition showcasing all the award-winning products at the Hannover Exhibition Centre. The exhibition will run until August 2011 and several hundred thousand visitors are expected.
The award-winning third generation of the Kia Sportage marks a dramatic shift in design direction for the compact SUV. Embodying Kia's newfound visual dynamism, the new Sportage successfully blends the key features of an SUV – the commanding driving position, heightened sense of security and raised ground clearance – and all of this is
contained in a sleek and urban-friendly design with global appeal.
The key design element of new Sportage's purposeful stance is the relationship between its high shoulders and narrow glasshouse. "We've created a vehicle with a sportscar-like ratio between sheet metal and glass", explains Peter Schreyer, Kia's chief design officer. The feeling of safety and protection the design projects is backed up by hard data: the new Sportage received a 5-Star rating, the highest possible, in the Euro NCAP crash test – as have all new Kia models since 2007.
The dynamic and stylish Kia Optima sedan, which celebrated its European debut at the Paris Motor Show 2010, has already emerged as a top-seller in several non-European countries. In its domestic Korean market the sporty sedan went straight to the top position in the D-segment, and is the very first Kia to have achieved this. The Kia Optima is an all-new car and it embodies what Peter Schreyer calls "a bold, athletic and visual sporting energy".