In front of the sinuous forms of his team’s latest, flamboyant creation, Grégory Guillaume, head of Kia design, insists on underlining how vigorous the inspiration that generated it was: “For us Proceed is a name that cries out brand character to the skies, the material representation of a dynamic approach that we are increasingly interested in transmitting. It’s a word that suggests a strong car. We started from this assumption to define the prototype”.
The creative process that followed proved to be more tortuous (but also much more interesting) than in the recent past: “In recent years the market has rewarded three-door cars less and less, especially in segment C, which we have entered with this project, and we had to take this into account. We had to completely reinterpret the idea of a sports compact, evolve it in the direction of a different type of vehicle. The result, which some have called a shooting brake, should in my opinion be defined as an “Extended Hot Hatch”: an aggressive hatchback but with more generous functionality. A car that responds to the increased demand for practicality, while staying, of course, a good distance away from the context of crossovers and sport-utilities”.
The decision to adopt five doors instead of the traditional three redefined the morphology of the sides, which prove to possess unusually expressive power for Kia and the whole reference category. “In fact, for me as a designer, the side view has always been the most important”, continues Guillaume, “because it defines the car’s proportions. But here we worked on this area with particular attention, especially as regards the design of the windows: painstaking attention was paid to the whole development, right up to the connection with the rear window of which I am very proud. The graphic effect proved so convincing that we decided to “light it up” with a system of leds, creating the so-called “Luminline”: in this way the distinctive lighting element is no longer at the front, like all the rest. It’s surprising nobody ever thought of it before”.
The new light graphics stand out on the panelling, making the intense red colouring a flag of aggression: “As many as 19 layers of paint were needed to obtain this deep shade, Lava Red. The first is black, followed by some layers of appropriately polished chrome before we finally come to the different coatings of red”, the designer continues. “The process was entirely manual, as was the construction of the seats and the painting of the door panel. It took three months to make the prototype and some machining operations are clearly unrepeatable in production. However, I really hope that this proposal, or one of the other proposals we have looked at during the design phase, can lead to a real product, a sportily attractive compact”.