The Korean-made cars of the 1990s and early 2000s looked very... Korean. Not exactly a bad thing, mind you, but it's tough to sell vehicles around the globe that cater to a specific region of the world. That's likely one of the reasons why Kia hired former Audi designer Peter Schreyer to inject some much needed style into its lineup.
Schreyer tells Automotive News that there is no "Koreaness" about the Kia lineup, adding "to be honest, we don't want the cars to look Korean." A quick look at the 2011 Optima and you can see Schreyer is succeeding, but what about the Naimo EV concept? AN tells us that the jade color is reminiscent of Celadon-style pottery. The interior is covered in Korean oak. Schreyer tells AN that, at least in this case, the Korean factor is strong, adding it has design cues inspired by art specific to that country.
While the Naimo concept is a definite change of pace versus the rest of the Kia lineup, we're thinking the little concept doesn't mean to reveal a new styling direction. The show car was, after all, designed with the Seoul Motor Show in mind. Besides, there's nothing wrong with playing to the home crowd.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]