Kia taps former Mercedes and BMW designers amid EV shift

Kia aims to boost sales with improved tech and designs. To help its transition, Kia is bringing on former longtime Mercedes-Benz and BMW designers.

Kia brings on ex-Mercedes, BMW designers amid EV shift

Kia announced Tuesday that it has hired senior chief designers Oliver Samson and Seungmo Lim as head of its Europe and China Design Centers.

The move is effective April 1st. With extensive experience at some of the biggest auto brands, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Kia aims to strengthen its design team amid its shift to EVs.

Samson and Lin will lead their teams to develop the next generation of Kia designs, concepts, materials, and models. Their work will support Kia’s main design hub in Korea, where designs are taken from plans to concepts.

After starting his career at Hyundai and Kia’s European design center, Oliver Samson is returning to the brand. Samson spent over a decade with the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design team while more recently holding positions at NIO and Changan.

Kia EV9 (Source: Kia)

Lim is arriving with over a decade of experience with BMW’s Munich design team. Most recently serving as vice head of innovative design at Geely (Volvo, Polestar parent company), Lim will help the brand transition to EVs in China.

Kia is transforming the brand amid its shift to a sustainable mobility solutions provider, including a new design and slogan.

Kia EV lineup from left to right: EV6, EV4, EV5, EV3, EV9 (Source: Kia)

You can see the brand’s new “Opposites United” design theme in the new all-electric EV6 and EV9. Kia is also planning to release a series of low-cost EVs, starting with the EV3 later this year, with expected prices around $30,000. The EV4 will follow next year, starting at around $35,000, as Kia looks to boost its presence as the market transitions to electric.

The new electric vehicles are part of Kia’s wide-ranging EV lineup priced between $30,000 and $80,000.

Kia’s first three-row electric SUV, the EV9, is finding success with over 2,700 models sold in the US in the first two months of the year.

Kia EV9 Trim

(including $1,495
destination fee)
EPA Est. Range
Light RWD $56,395 230
Light Long
Range RWD
$60,695 304
Wind e-AWD $65,395 280
Land e-AWD $71,395 280
GT-Line e-AWD $73,900 270
2024 Kia EV9 trim prices and range

The EV9 starts at $54,900, but the high-performance GT-line will cost you upwards of $74,000. With more second-row legroom than the Cadillac Escalade and more headroom than the Tesla Model X, Kia’s EV9 provides plenty of interior space.

Meanwhile, Kia is offering a hefty $5,000 customer cash offer on 2024 EV9 models. If you’ve been eyeing Kia’s all-electric three-row SUV, we can help you get started. You can use our link to find unbeatable deals on the 2024 Kia EV9 at a dealer near you.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.