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Kia continues to strengthen design capabilities by announcing John Buckingham as Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group following the recent appointment of VP Teck Koun Kim, Head of Kia Next Design Group

  • Buckingham, who will report to VP Teck Koun Kim, to lead the exterior design for Kia’s forthcoming models
  • Announcement further bolsters Kia’s future mobility design capabilities following the appointment of VP Kim as Head of Kia Next Design Group in January this year
  • Kia’s ‘Opposities United’ design philosophy sets out a bold ambition to lead the way in future mobility and aligns a progressive approach to form and function
  • Buckingham, who started in his new role on June 1st, brings more than 18 years of luxury and all-electric vehicle design experience 

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

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 lineup. 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. 

Career Highlights

Teck Koun Kim, Vice President, Head of Kia Next Design Group

2023 ~ : Kia, VP, Head of Kia Next Design Group
2020 ~ 2023 : Kia, VP, Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group
2018 ~ 2020 : Kia, Team Leader of Kia Exterior Design Team
2013 ~ 2018 : Mercedes-Benz, Germany, Lead Designer at Exterior Design Team
2011 ~ 2013 : Mercedes-Benz, Germany, Senior Designer at Advanced Design Team
2007 ~ 2011 : Mercedes-Benz, Japan, Designer at Advanced Design Center Yokohama
2005 ~ 2007 : Daihatsu Motors, Japan, Exterior Designer
2004 : BA in Industrial Design at Hong-Ik University

John Buckingham, Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group

2023 ~ : Kia Corporation, Head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group
2022 ~ 2023 : Faraday Future, Senior Automotive Manager
2018 ~ 2021 : Bentley Motors, Exterior Design Manager Advanced and Bespoke
2012 ~ 2018 : BMW Designworks USA, Creative Director
2005 ~ 2011 : BMW Group Design, Exterior Designer
2005 : BA in Automotive Design, Coventry University 


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