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The custom of Asian manufacturers giving ridiculous names to their export offerings was taken to new levels today by Korean auto manufacturer Kia in naming its latest concept car the pro_cee'd, complete with an underscore and apostrophe. Set for a Paris Motor Show debut later this month, the strikingly styled, pro_cee'd showcar is based on the forthcoming three-door 'sporty hatch' version of the all-new Kia cee'd C-segment model. This five-door family hatchback has its world premiere (in production-ready form) at Paris and will be manufactured at Kia's first European assembly plant in Slovakia from November 2006.
"Following on from the original cee'd concept car we exhibited at the Geneva Show earlier this year, our design brief for pro_cee'd was to create a '
teaser' for the all-new Kia cee'd 'sporty hatch' which will become the third model in the cee'd line-up (after the five-door and wagon) from December 2007," explained Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Kia, European Design Centre.
When Kia's designers created the cee'd 'sporty hatch,' they set out to maximise the differentiation between the five-door and three-door cee'd models as much as possible, without losing the family likeness.
Exterior—the same, but strikingly different
Consequently, the pro_cee'd actually looks very similar to Kia's new cee'd 'sporty hatch' model with its dynamic, muscular and masculine nature.
"Colour plays an important role in generating the bold image of the pro_cee'd concept. We call the exterior colour 'Cashew' and it is a daring colour for a showcar," observed Guillaume. "It looks almost solid, but does have a small percentage of metal flakes that give a discreet sparkle. I think the colour works well in contrast with the bright metal and dense matt black elements of the exterior like the door mirrors and the special road wheels, and shows off the car's solid forms to perfection."
The wheels are a two-part design, featuring five double-spokes arranged with a recessed black power-coated centre and brightly polished convex perimeter spokes. These dramatic wheels sport 265/30 R19 low profile tyres.
Key attributes which the pro_cee'd and 'sporty hatch' models will have in common include the lowered roof line (down by 25 mm compared to the five-door cee'd) and shallower side windows ringed in chrome trim that create a robustly sporty window graphic.
Interior—creating a strong 'performance' feeling
The pro_cee'd interior is designed to accommodate four people and is trimmed to give a strong 'performance' feeling with deeply matt surfaces. Like the exterior, the cab uses bright metal and dense matt black elements, but in the interior these appear to 'float' amidst areas of contrasting leather trim.
In the earlier Geneva Kia cee'd showcar this 'floating' effect was one of elegant sophistication, in the pro-cee'd the feeling inside the cabin is very different, bolder, tougher and more racy. The four seats feature bucket-style backrests with aluminium alloy mountings for the head restraints.
Facing the driver, the three recessed dials of the instrument panel have separate metal cowlings set beneath a top cowling that also appears to 'float' above the dashboard. The short, leather-shrouded gear lever is set in a bright metal surround topping a black centre console that rises between the front seats to position a battery of minor switchgear within easy reach of the driver.
The dense matt black trim of the upper dashboard is continued around the upper sides of the cab. The lower panels are trimmed in special 'distressed' leather that has a black/brown patina, the quality of an old flying jacket—"leather with a history and a story to tell…" as Guillaume enthuses.
Designed in Europe, made in Europe, for younger, sporty Europeans
The pro_cee'd creative process began in April when Kia's multi-national design team at Russelsheim, under design chief Gregory Guillaume, signed-off work on the production Kia cee'd 'sporty hatch' turned its talents towards the Paris showcar.
"Like the five-door cee'd, which has its world premiere at Paris, the new cee'd 'sporty hatch' will be a truly European product, designed in Europe and made in Europe. But whereas the five-door is a great handling family car, this version of cee'd will be targeting younger drivers in search of a more overtly sporty look to go with the sporty drive," observed Guillaume.
"With pro-cee'd we are accelerating Kia's drive towards design excellence and once more demonstrating its 'tough not rough' design ethic. We have seized the opportunity of the Paris Show to create a 'teaser' car that really will build eager anticipation of future Kia models," concludes Guillaume.