Kia Motors has appointed Karim Habib Senior Vice President and Head of the Kia Design Center. Habib left his most recent post as Executive Design Director at Infiniti – where he served only a short while – to enhance Kia’s design competitiveness. He will officially start his new role in October and be based at Kia’s global design headquarters in Namyang, Korea.
Responsible for the design of Kia vehicles, Habib will oversee the work of Kia’s exterior, interior, color, and material teams, and help determine the future design strategy and direction of the Kia brand, reporting to Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group.
Renowned for his exceptional ability to reflect brand identity in his designs, Habib brings with him more than 20 years’ experience leading major design projects at premium brands. In his most recent role, he oversaw the design of the Infiniti brand’s concept vehicles; we’ve yet to see what impact he had on Nissan’s luxury brand’s production range. Habib previously held positions at both BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz.
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,” said Habib. “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.”
“SVP Habib will be an asset for the Kia brand with his international background and global experience,” said Donckerwolke. “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.”
The Kia Design Center is the birthplace of Kia’s global models, responsible for overseeing all aspects of vehicle design – from conceptualization and modeling to styling and development of color and materials. Based in Namyang, Korea, Kia’s Design Center operates as part of the brand’s global design network, with regional design centers in the US and Europe.