Peter Schreyer Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

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Peter Schreyer, the man known for donning all-black clothing, black-rimmed glasses designed by Philippe Starch and for his “competitive, inventive and analytic nature”, has just received Autocar’s ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award.

Related: Kia EV6 Wins 2022 German Premium Car of the Year Award

This hardly comes as a surprise given that he designed some of the world’s most iconic cars that include, according to Car Design News, one of “the most influential automotive designs in recent time”, the Audi TT. During his time at Volkswagen AG, Schreyer also brought some flower power back with the new Beetle, and, as South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group’s design boss, became regarded as a visionary that helped to transform the Kia and Hyundai brands with striking new models like the Kia Rio, Stinger, Sportage and the Kia Telluride. According to Mark Tisshaw, Autocar Journalist:

“Few people have the determination and ability to change the course of a massive car conglomerate for the better. But Peter Schreyer did just this in 2006 when he accepted the position as Kia’s chief design officer.  Kia’s global sales rocketed from 1.6 million to 3 million between 2009 and 2016.”

That’s no mean feat, especially at a time when badge snobs in the West looked down on Korean automotive brands. During his time at Hyundai Motor Group, Schreyer managed to tear down the cultural barriers between Eastern and Western design cultures. 

At Kia he developed a design philosophy that he refers to as the ‘simplicity of the straight line’ that set out to stress clarity, simplicity and good proportions. Schreyer firmly believes that a car should have a face and as such he created the “Tiger Nose” for the Kia brand in 2009 because he wanted “a powerful, visual signal, a seal, an identifier.” Schreyer stated at the time that “tigers are powerful, yet kind of friendly.” Commenting on his award, the Bavarian native said:

“It is an honor to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award. I have been fortunate to have been involved in many projects over my 40+ year design career and privileged to work with some very talented teams to develop vehicles that have resonated with customers the world over.”

As the book “Roots and Wings” – an ode to Peter Schreyer’s illustrious career  – illustrates, “Peter Schreyer is not just a creator of well-proportioned cars, but a true renaissance man. Traditionalist and visionary alike, Schreyer is an artist and design philosopher with holistic ideas of creative thinking and the principles of good design.”

Peter Schreyer

In November 2018 Schreyer entrusted his drawing materials to Luc Donckerwolke who became Hyundai-Kia’s next chief design officer. Schreyer is now responsible for the company’s long-term design vision, donning the title of president of design management for Hyundai Motor group.

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