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Kia has been awarded two top honours for its Picanto and Rio models in the 2012 red dot design competition.

The five-door versions of Kia’s striking A-segment Picanto and B-segment Rio were both winners in red dot’s internationally-acclaimed ‘Product Design’ category, in a competition that saw more than 4,500 products entered by 1,800 manufacturers from 58 countries across a variety of product sectors.

Judging was carried out by an international jury of highly respected design experts, who scrutinized and tested the products in detail, with winners selected on the basis of their level of innovation, functionality, ergonomics, durability, ecological compatibility and intuitive handling.  Only products featuring the highest standards of design are eligible for the coveted red dot.

These two latest wins bring Kia’s red dot total to six, with the Soul crossover winning in 2009, Venga compact MPV in 2010, and both Sportage compact SUV and Optima sedan claiming top spots in 2011.  Optima was also named ‘best of the best’ in 2011 – the red dot competition’s highest accolade for groundbreaking design, for which only the best products in each category are eligible.

“We are very proud of the red dot awards for the Picanto and the Rio,” comments Kia’s Chief Officer Peter Schreyer.

“They are a great tribute to our entire global design team, because all three Kia design centers were involved in the development of both vehicles – and the results are absolutely harmonious models with a strong presence. I am particularly happy about this thoroughly creative and successful collaboration between our teams in Korea, Europe and America.”

Thomas Oh, Kia Senior Executive Vice President and COO, added, “As global buyers increasingly switch to smaller cars, design is becoming an ever more important factor in the A- and B-segments.  Rio and Picanto are key volume models for us and are already in great demand around the world.

“These coveted red dot awards are another endorsement of Kia’s commitment to high quality and striking design combined with minimal environmental impact and excellent value for money in its products.  Our impressive sales growth across the globe, at a time when the wider automotive industry is experiencing a drop in sales, is testament to this strategy and its successful implementation.”

The wins closely follow a number of other awards for Rio and Picanto, including Rio being named best in the ‘Exterieur’ class at the Automotive Brand Contest in 2011, and Picanto three-door honoured with an iF product design award 2012 – the fourth Kia model to receive this award.

The red dot product design awards are one of the world’s major design contests and have been held by the Design Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia since 1955.  The 2012 awards will be presented to winners at a gala event at the Alvar Aalto-designed opera house in Essen, Germany, on July 2 2012.