Hyundai and KIA must really pay attention to what the German brands are doing and, more specifically, who’s doing it. So far, some of the more notable names to leave BMW for Hyundai or KIA have been Albert Biermann, the former head of BMW M, and Karim Habib, former BMW designer. Now, KIA is adding yet another former BMW designer to its group, John Buckingham.

Buckingham, who worked at BMW from 2005-2018, before he left for Bentley, is now the director of exterior design for KIA. During his tenure at BMW, Buckingham penned some great cars, such as the stunning 8 Series Concept. After moving to Bentley in 2018, Buckingham continued to pump out gorgeous designs, like the EXP 100 GT Concept and the Mulliner Bacalar. After Bentley, Buckingham actually went to Faraday Future and helped design the American electric car upstart’s new model, the FF91.

KIA isn’t just hiring new designers, though. The Korean brand wants to completely reshape its organizational structure. Bringing in a veteran designer like Buckingham is a good idea for a brand that’s already been making some surprisingly good looking cars. It will be interesting to see where Buckingham takes KIA, as it’s currently in a good place design-wise. With cars like the EV6 GT and Telluride, KIA is hot at the moment. However, no brand can remain stagnant and design evolution must change, so I’m very interested in where KIA and Buckingham go next.

Over the past few years, KIA has actually become a brand that even some premium automakers have to watch out for. It doesn’t have the luxury of brands like BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, but some of its cars perform just as well, if not better. The KIA EV6 GT, for example, seems to be a fantastic overall electric vehicle, one that’s far better looking than the BMW i4 M50, which being about as fast. And it’s only going to be better from there, as Hyundai and KIA are pumping tons of money into electric vehicle development.

However, it’s always disappointing to see talented designers leave BMW, especially when BMW is in a weird spot, design-wise, at the moment. Its massive kidney grilles, split headlights, and unusual designs have received their fair share of criticism from the media and customers alike. Maybe there are those who like those designs but they’re mostly pretty heavily mocked. So seeing people who designed great modern BMWs leave is always a bit disappointing.

[Source: Ked Global]