Leclercq has worked earlier for a Chinese company, and he knows the kind of designs the Chinese prefer.
In a move aimed at reversing its fortunes in China, Kia Motors Corp has hired former BMW designer Pierre Leclercq as head of its styling .
Of late, both Kia, and its affiliate Hyundai Motor, who in combination account for the World’s 5th largest carmaker, have been grappling with falling sales in China.
This has largely been due to political tension related to North Korea, who only ally in the world is China.
On Thursday, In a statement released by Kia Motors, Leclercq oversaw projects including a revamped Haval H6 SUV, was “well-received for its refined design”. Leclercq also designed BMW’s SUV models X5 and X6 before overseeing the German automaker’s M performance sub-brand.
“Leclercq is one of few star designers who have experienced all of the major automobile markets including Europe, the United States and China,” said Kia.
The move comes in the wake of Hyundai Motors announcing the appointment of Simon Loasby, a former director from Volkswagen as its China design head.
During the first half of 2017, Hyundai’s sales fell by 29% in China while Kia’s sales had dropped by 42%.
Belgian-born Leclercq will take up the his new job at Kia by the end of September; he will work in South Korea alongside Hyundai’s chief design officer Peter Schreyer, a former Audi designer, and head of Kia’s design center in Korea Youn Seon-ho.
He will be responsible for developing Kia’s long-term design strategy, and strengthen cooperation between the company’s design networks located Europe, Korea, the United States and China.
Leclercq could be instrumental in designing Kia’s SUV line-up in China, said Sang Alexander Koo, a professor and former designer with Kia.
“As he worked for a Chinese company, he knows what kinds of design Chinese people like.”