Now in its third generation with original shooting brake architecture, the Proceed is something special for Kia Europe’s design chief Gregory Guillaume and his team. “I arrived at Kia on 1 January 2005, when the first generation of the Ceed was practically reaching the end of its cycle”, he says, referring to what was still written at the time as “C’eed”, the new C-segment saloon designed and produced in Europe.
“They were excellent cars, even if I would have preferred to inject a bit more emotion into them and that’s what we set out to do shortly after with the third body variant, the three-door Proceed”.
That extra touch of dynamism and passion would influence the whole Ceed family in the future. “When it came to designing the second generation of the Ceed, we picked up the research where we had left off with the Proceed, while for this we went even further, making the volumes even more emotional.
That’s why aspects of the second-generation Ceed are markedly dynamic, like the wedge-shaped profile and cab-forward architecture”, Guillaume continues. “With the third generation, things had changed. We had positioned the Kia brand where we wanted it to be, the public now perceived it differently than even just five years earlier, and was fully aware of its qualities.
So we felt that in the Ceed III we could play around with different proportions, moving the cabin further back and creating a more horizontal silhouette”.
The Kia designers at the Frankfurt Style Centre were therefore preparing to design the third Proceed, when they received bad news: the three-door car segment in Europe was still declining and therefore no successor was planned.
“You can imagine what effect that had on the morale of the design team. Proceed had always been our “baby”, and the first project we put the young designers who came to the company to work on was the Proceed GT. For my part, when I saw one on the street I perceived it as an ambassador of what Kia is, of our values, young-at-heart, emotion, sportiness”.
In the face of problems, however, creatives know how to seize an opportunity. “We said that the Proceed did not depend so much on being a three-door as on embodying those values that had to be carried forward in the Ceed family in a range model. So we immediately set to work to reinvent it in another body style, creating numerous scale models that explored very different types of car in terms of size, dimensions and proportions”. Highly fruitful research work, which also involved colleagues from other departments, from product to marketing and sales.
(Full article in A&D no. 234)