Kia appoints former BMW designer Jochen Paesen for interior design

March 30, 2020

Kia has hired former BMW designer Jochen Paesen to become the company’s vice president of interior design, including overseeing future electrified vehicles.

Belgian-born Paesen moves across from his role as senior design director for interior at NIO, the Chinese electric supercar maker. Before that he worked at BMW Group and is responsible for works such as the stunning 2009 BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics concept car, as well as the subsequent BMW i8 Roadster.

This means Kia now has some very reputable designers creating its vehicles. German-born Peter Schreyer remains as president of design at Hyundai Motor Group, following work at Volkswagen and in particular creating designs for Audi. Heading Kia design is Karim Habib, also a former BMW designer. In a statement, Paesen said:

“I look forward to contributing to Kia’s ambitious plans for the future with exciting and innovative products that will strengthen its position on the market. Kia has a very talented design and development team and I cannot wait to combine our efforts to strengthen the brand further, and pave a new direction full of innovation and class-leading designs.”

With the new appointment it now means Kia vehicles are pretty much European designed and engineered, remembering Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D chief is Albert Biermann. He was vice president of BMW M division engineering for a number of years.

Jochen Paesen will be based at the Kia Design Center in Namyang, Korea, reporting to Karim Habib. His role starts in March. See below for some of his career highlights:

2016 – 2019: (Senior) / Design Director Interior Design, NIO
2014 – 2015: Head of Interior Design, BMW i
2012 – 2014: Project Leader Interior Design, BMW Group
2010 – 2012: Creative Director Interior Design, BMW Group
2006 – 2010: Interior Designer, BMW Group
2002 – 2006: Interior Designer, Volkswagen AG

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.