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June 7, 2023

Former Bentley, BMW Designer Is Now Head Of Kia's Advanced Design Group

Kia is announcing the appointment of John Buckingham as the Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group, effective June 1.

Kia is continuing to enhance its design capabilities as it moves to play a leading role in future mobility and build on well-received EV portfolio. Earlier this year Vice President Teck Koun Kim was appointed to the position of Head of Kia Next Design Group, and now John Buckingham will take the role as the Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group to support the brand’s bold design ambitions.

Vice President Kim is overseeing exterior, interior and also CMF design for Kia’s full vehicle line-up. John Buckingham, in his new role, will oversee Kia’s exterior design and support Vice President Kim.

Kia aims to play a leading role in shaping the future of mobility through its design philosophy: ‘Opposites United’. To help achieve this goal, Karim Habib, Executive Vice President, and Head of Kia Global Design Center, has instilled an innovative and proactive organizational culture to empower the brand’s designers.

“As Kia continues its transformation towards sustainable mobility and moves to become an aspirational brand, I am extremely happy to welcome John Buckingham to the Kia Global Design Center. His incredible talent and creativity will empower our team, said Karim Habib, EVP and Head of Kia Global Design Center. “It is a fantastic advantage for us also to have Teck Koun Kim to lead all of our production projects. With his extraordinary skills and valuable experience, he can advance our design organization in Namyang even further towards the brand we want to be.”

“Kia is successfully leading the EV market with its competitive models such as EV6, EV9 that boast innovative design,” said Teck Koun Kim, Vice President and Head of Kia Next Design Group. “Kia is accelerating efforts to innovate and respond to the fast-changing market environment by means such as recruiting external talents. We expect John Buckingham, who has various experiences at premium brands and the start-up, to contribute to the innovative design work we do at Kia Global Design Center.”

Buckingham will spearhead Kia’s future exterior design direction and processes and contribute to Kia’s ambition to set leading design standards across the global automotive industry. Drawing from his extensive experience designing EVs, Buckingham will make a significant contribution to the exterior design of Kia’s next-generation vehicles, including all electric models.

“It is with great honor and excitement that I join the Kia Next Design Exterior Group. I look forward to working with the hugely talented design team to help further define the brand’s Opposites United progressive design philosophy and apply this approach to the next generation of Kia vehicle exteriors. Together, we will build on the hugely impressive current products and work towards the next generation of design expression,” said John Buckingham, Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group.

Buckingham is a highly regarded talent in the global automotive industry. Prior to joining Kia, he held senior design roles with several luxury car brands, including Bentley Motors, BMW, and Faraday Future. At Faraday Future, he was responsible for the final development and bringing to market the FF91, the brand’s flagship EV and leading the design of its future models.


  1. Seems like KIA is pirating all the good designers from European brands like BMW, Bentley, Audi.

    1. I also sense that half of Hyundai and Kia's cars look just like European Ford cars, especially when you spot on their logos - including Kia's pre-2021 logo - that they are all in circles and it seems Kia failed to circle the problem but at least Hyundai and Ford did however.


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