Kia found something that works as it’s sticking with it

As any marketing person will tell you, building brand recognition is critical to a company’s success. To this end, automakers have a number of strategies to create awareness with customers, including the implementation of a specific design language across a lineup. As such, it appears as though Kia has their “look” set in stone.

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2018 Kia Stinger High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Between the new Forte5, the new Optima, and the sportastic Stinger GT, Kia has been looking pretty dang tasty lately.

Between the new Forte5, the new Optima, and the sportastic Stinger GT, Kia has been looking pretty dang tasty lately. Taking responsibility for Kia’s recent aesthetic renaissance is Peter Schreyer, the South Korean brand’s chief of design, who spoke with CarBuzz recently to hash out the latest styling trends in the automotive sphere. Chief on the list of topics was Kia’s characteristic Tiger Nose grille design.

Speaking to CarBuzz at the debut for the 2019 Kia K900, Schreyer was brimming with confidence over Kia’s look. “I think [the tiger nose grille] should be the kidney grilles. Even if BMW is kind of watering them down at the moment […] I am very happy and I think it is very good for Kia that we have [the tiger nose].”

Schreyer also said be believes the design is quite flexible, which means it should be a mainstay in the company’s design language for some time to come.

“Of course, we have the freedom as compared to the kidney grilles that are more fixed. They cannot break. The tiger nose is much more variable,” he explained. “You can make it higher, lower, wider, smaller, pair it with different headlamps, whatever. As long as you have the things in the middle, it always works.”

Indeed, Schreyer isn’t the only Kia employee keen on keeping the Tiger Nose. “We had a workshop recently with designers where we talked about how we want to proceed and what we want to do,” he divulged. “One thing we all said was, ‘Tiger nose forever.’”

Better Get Used to Seeing Kia's Tiger Nose Grille - Like BMW's Kidney Grille, It Isn't Going Away Any Time Soon Exterior
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“One thing we all said was, ‘Tiger nose forever,’” said Peter Schreyer, Kia’s chief of design.

And of course, you can’t talk grilles without touching on the latest automotive design feature du jour, the plus-sized front intake. The Chinese market in particular seems intent on plus-sizing their grilles, but Kia won’t necessarily go that route based on market trends alone. “When we talked to our Chinese marketing people, they always wanted [the grilles] bigger and wider and higher and more chrome than ever. But if you look at some of the successful cars in China, they do not have as big grilles,” Schreyer explained.

“I think it’s a stereotype that we all think they want and they need bigger grilles - that some cars that have them are successful - but I don’t know if this is going to stay forever. I think it also has to do with the power of a brand. If a brand is very strong like, for example, BMW, they don’t need make an even bigger BMW kidney grille with chrome bars on the inside,” Schreyer argued. “They don’t do it.”

Sometimes, however, bigger is the way forward, as we’ve seen with the Lexus spindle grille design. In this case, Schreyer said that the large design works, complimenting the company by saying it has a “strong brand.”

However, Schreyer was uncertain how Lexus would evolve the look going forward. “Bigger is not possible. I don’t know where they go from there. For me, when I first saw it, I was quite surprised and shocked. They actually did this.”

2018 Kia Stinger Exterior
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Grille design is one of the most impactful ways to make a car stand out. Audi and Jeep are two good examples of this.

Indeed, grille design is one of the most impactful ways to make a car stand out. Audi and Jeep are two good examples of this, with the large Singleframe design of the former and the vertical slots framed by twin headlights of the latter.

Personally, we here at TopSpeed aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of the bigger grille trends we’ve seen lately. Sometimes, they work - for example, the Lexus LC uses the Spindle aesthetic to great effect, matching the hourglass shape with a wide lower bumper and drawn-back fenders.

However, other times, it’s just way over the top. Take the 2019 Toyota Avalon as a good example of when bigger isn’t better.

In the end, we think the Tiger Nose thing is definitely working for Kia, and applaud the brand’s efforts to establish its own aesthetic.

What do you think? Do you like the Tiger Nose? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

References

Better Get Used to Seeing Kia's Tiger Nose Grille - Like BMW's Kidney Grille, It Isn't Going Away Any Time Soon Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Stinger GT.

Better Get Used to Seeing Kia's Tiger Nose Grille - Like BMW's Kidney Grille, It Isn't Going Away Any Time Soon Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Kia K900.

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Read more Kia news.

Source: Carbuzz

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