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Design matters: Eyes on stylish cars

BMW Mini Coupe (BMW Korea)

Publication Date : 11-08-2012

 

The monotone roads of Seoul have been getting some touches of colour in the past few years. Yes, black, gray and silver still make up the majority of car colours, but vivid shades and stripes of colours such as mint blue, baby yellow and red are being spotted more often than before.

Sales of the BMW mini, well-known for its bubbly exterior and eye-catching stripes in a variety of colours, increased by 11.83 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, according to BMW Korea. The German carmaker has been topping South Korea’s imported car market since 2009.

The monotone roads of Seoul have been getting some touches of colour in the past few years. Yes, black, gray and silver still make up the majority of car colours, but vivid shades and stripes of colours such as mint blue, baby yellow and red are being spotted more often than before.

Sales of the BMW mini, well-known for its bubbly exterior and eye-catching stripes in a variety of colours, increased by 11.83 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, according to BMW Korea. The German carmaker has been topping South Korea’s imported car market since 2009.

The best example is South Korean carmaker Kia Motors, which saw dramatic changes after investing in design.

It recruited Peter Schreyer, the acclaimed former Audi/Volkswagen designer considered one of the world’s top three car designers along with Chris Bangle and Walter de Silva, as the Chief Design Officer in 2006, who awakened the importance of design for the company.

The Kia family’s tiger-like nose grille and the innovative designs of the box car Soul and popular sedan K5 were all created at the tip of his fingers. The brand also began to put more emphasis on colour, introducing pastel-toned Milky Beige and Aqua Mint, especially on compact cars like Soul and Ray.

Reborn with a chic, stylish image, the carmaker’s sales soared. It sold about 254 million cars in the global market last year, which was an 81.6 per cent increase compared to 2008. In the first half of this year, the company already sold nearly 140 million cars.

Moreover, the carmaker’s designs are sweeping international awards, including world’s three top design awards ― iF, reddot and IDEA.

Recently, Kia Motors brought home three awards from the 2012 Automotive Brand Contest hosted by the German Design Council. Its new model c’eed targeting Europe won the exterior category as well as the honorary special mention for exceptional innovation in the interior category; and another model, the Kia GT, a rear-wheel drive sports sedan, won the concept award.

Acclaimed carmakers are now expanding their realms.

Chris Bangle, for example, has been working with Samsung Electronics as a design consultant since last year after redesigning BMW in 2009. He is designing the South Korean company’s home appliances.

Bangle, who was the first American to become the chief of design for the German carmaker, was acclaimed for updating the designs of the BMW, Mini Cooper and Rolls Royce during the 17 years he spent in the company.

Choi Joong-yeol, head of Samsung Electronics’ home appliances design department said last month that a full line-up of Bangle-designed Samsung home appliances including washing machines, refrigerators and ovens will be completed as early as 2014 or 2015.

“What Bangle always emphasised while working with us was to think of designs that can be technically realised. His philosophies are much imbued in the ongoing designs,” said Choi.

 

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