• Karim Habib, Head of Kia Global Design, recognised as ‘Designer Disruptor of the Year’ for pioneering the ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy.
  • Kia EV9 awarded ‘Research and Development Disruptor of the Year’ for innovative advanced technology applications.
  • Newsweek awards, in their third year, acknowledge leaders driving transformative change with measurable real-world impacts.
  • These awards add to the extensive recognition of innovative Hyundai Motor Group products and personnel.

Kia have celebrated two victories at this year's Newsweek World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors Awards, with the all-electric EV9 winning ‘Research and Development Disruptor of the Year’ and Head of Kia Global Design, Executive Vice President Karim Habib, named ‘Design Disruptor of the Year’.

The prestigious Newsweek World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors Awards recognitions are towards those driving fundamental and transformative change with measurable real-world results.

Karim Habib, pivotal to Kia's success since 2019, spearheads the Opposites United design ethos. He takes inspiration from natural and human contrasts, with Opposites United shaping the exterior, interior, colour, and materials employed across all new Kia models. This is clear to see in the bold styling of the All-New EV9.

Upon the announcement of this prestigious award, EVP Karim said: “It makes me extremely happy that Kia is seen as pushing the boundaries when it comes to design, and I believe that it is essential for designers to consistently take creative risks.

“It is important that design remains authentic and true to our brand values. At Kia, an innovative and forward-thinking mindset is an intrinsic quality, essential for providing relevant and meaningful products and experiences. We want our brand to provide environmentally responsible mobility for all; and we want our brand to be a symbol of innovation and progressive solutions.”

The EV9 was the winner of Kia’s second award of the evening, for ‘Research and Development Disruptor of the Year’ for featuring multiple innovative R&D features including 800V architecture, Over The Air (OTA) update technology, and a drag coefficient of just 0.28 - despite its available 7.8 inches of ground clearance and seven-seat capacity. With a range of up to 349 miles on a single charge, and an affordable entry price, the Kia EV9 brings innovative technology, luxury, and efficiency to more buyers than ever before.

Heuiwon Yang, President and Head of Kia R&D Division, said: “Kia R&D is driven by process, but not limited by it. At Kia, that means our engineers have the agency and trust to accelerate development, continue to pioneer new technology, and deliver improvements faster than the industry average.

“The EV9 was designed to reshape expectations in the segment, but affordability is a defining factor in the three-row mainstream segment—especially for growing families. We wanted the EV9 to offer the best of everything, without passing on those costs to the consumer.”

Crowned 'North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, following the EV6's previous win in this category, the EV9 is a key vehicle for the North American market. The success of the model has also prompted the expansion of Kia’s West Point assembly plant in Georgia, which is expected to allow the three-row all-electric vehicle to become the first Kia EV to commence US assembly later this year.

President and CEO of Kia North America and Kia America Seungkyu (Sean) Yoon, who received the award on behalf of Kia, added: “The recognition of Newsweek’s editors is of particular significance to Kia, which strives to disrupt the status quo through innovative products which enrich the lives of their users.

“These dual awards demonstrate that the visionary leadership offered by our senior executives is having a real and meaningful impact on the vehicles which we create, delivering on Kia’s goal to become the leader in sustainable mobility solutions.”