Hyundai has been the talk of the town in recent years as it continues to grab market share from the industry’s established players. Many have credited the Korean automaker’s successful shaking of its shoddy image through an aggressive quality campaign spearheaded by the largest warranty in the industry.

But Hyundai and Kia wouldn’t be selling so many cars if customers thought their designs weren’t desirable. In fact, Korean auto design has come a long, long way, and for much of that journey Kim Young Il, the executive vice president in charge of design and brand strategy for Hyundai and Kia, has been behind the wheel.

In an interview with BusinessWeek’s Asia Editor, Young coins the term K-factor when describing the distinct Korean design DNA that he hopes is expressed in his company’s designs that are being sold throughout the world.

Hyundai has an army of 500 designers stationed around the globe in Korea, the U.S. and Europe, which is a huge increase over the 150 employed just five years ago. Moving forward Young plans to further express a unique “design philosophy” for each of his brands, with Hyundais being inspired by the river stone (smooth, solid and refined surfaces) and Kias taking after a brick (solid and aggressive, with a feeling of strength).

Check out more of the interview here.

[Thanks Source1 for the tip!]

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