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Sr. Program Development Engineer

Date: May 5, 2023

Location: Irvine, California, US, 92606

Company: Kia America, Inc.

At Kia, we’re creating award-winning products and redefining what value means in the automotive industry. It takes a special group of individuals to do what we do, and we do it together. Our culture is fast-paced, collaborative, and innovative. Our people thrive on thinking differently and challenging the status quo. We are creating something special here, a culture of learning and opportunity, where you can help Kia achieve big things and most importantly, feel passionate and connected to your work every day.

Kia provides team members with competitive benefits including premium paid medical, dental and vision coverage for you and your dependents, 401(k) plan matching of 100% up to 6% of the salary deferral, and time off starting at 14 days per year. Kia also offers company lease and purchase programs, company-wide holiday shutdown, paid volunteer hours, and premium lifestyle amenities at our corporate campus in Irvine, California.




The Forward Model Vehicle Development group works as part of the  Kia North America Ownership Experience - Product Quality team to represent the voice of the North American customer in the development of new vehicle products. This group integrates with R&D, product quality, product planning, service, and marketing teams as vehicle concept materializes into reality.

This role’s primary objective is to manage and lead Kia’s new product technical definition through communication and enforcement of regional Voice of Customer (VOC) program objectives to the respective development teams. This role will also relay information from engineering teams back to the Regional HQ executive management to specify appropriate system and component performance and adjust strategy to ensure product success.

The Program Development Engineer will establish and track North America (NA) market product expectations in each new vehicle program from initial product conception through each development stage including clay model reviews, master car evaluations, prototype, and pilot stages. The position will be responsible for setting performance objectives based on regional product strategy and ensuring their adherence, therefore a leader with strong vehicle evaluation ability, technical knowledge, and excellent communication skills is essential.

Since this role strongly influences Kia NA’s future product offerings, competence and mastery of existing vehicle systems is required. This role will be heavily relied on as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for emerging vehicle technologies like ADAS, Advanced Powertrain, EV, Hybrid Systems, and alternative fuel systems. A strong foundation in conventional automotive disciplines related to vehicle dynamics (ride/steering/handling), NVH, powertrain systems, HVAC, and others must also be heavily relied upon to ensure success.

Major Responsibilities

1st Priority - 35%

Manage the engineering product development for regional Voice of Customer technical strategy, evaluation, and verification process for all assigned electrified vehicle platforms within Kia NA.   Ensure new product meets customer expectations, support assessment of new technologies, and provide direction to R&D and quality teams.

2nd Priority - 25%

Manage the definition, evaluation, and verification process of new electronics and ADAS related features on new models and support other technical and business teams as required.

3rd Priority - 20%

Integrate with RHQ teams to ensure product vision is consistent to vehicle performance and attributes.  Relay information from development teams to ensure Kia NA product expectations and documentation is accurate.

4th Priority - 10%

Manages product launch process with PR, Strategy, and marketing teams. Manage all assigned media vehicle preparation requests, including tier 1 media, NPI events, BIS support with 3rd party testing, and other relevant projects.

5th Priority - 5%

Special project support and documentation review as needed

6th Priority - 5%

Training / Administration responsibilities


  • BS Mechanical/Electrical/Automotive Engineering degree from an accredited institution required

Overall Experience

  • Minimum 5+ years’ experience in automotive development or planning.
  • Minimum 2 years’ experience in vehicle evaluation and testing
  • Preferred 8+ years’ overall experience in engineering or product development

Directly Related Experience

  • Experience with vehicle dynamics and suspension tuning/evaluation preferred.
  • Experience with ADAS development and testing preferred.
  • Experience with development and validation of OTA and other emerging technologies preferred.
  • EV product development and evaluation experience preferred.
  • Experience with vehicle computer systems calibration a plus (vehicle controllers, calibration, or software development)
  • Experience in vehicle instrumentation and troubleshooting preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of automobiles with familiarity of vehicle hardware and software development process.


  • Must be able to travel nationally and internationally as required to support testing and vehicle reviews.  Travel up to 30% as required by role.
  • Must have a current US Passport or equivalent documentation for international business travel purposes.


Ability to lead and coordinate cross-functional engineering teams and provide clear direction on expectations.
Ability to work hands-on with mechanical and electrical systems, machining and fabrication skills a plus
Excellent communication skills required (written and oral)
Experience with ETAS INCA, Matlab, Vector products, Racelogic VBOX preferred
Experience with NVH packages such as Siemens LMS Test.Lab, B&K, Head Acoustics Squadriga a plus
Knowledge of CAD packages such as Solidworks, Siemens NX, CATIA a plus
Must have deep understanding of vehicle development process from design stage all the way through manufacturing and start of production
PC skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point
Strong ability to identify and describe vehicle system error states
Strong subjective vehicle evaluation skills desired
Strong technical report writing and oral communication skills.
Strong vehicle driving skills needed, involvement with auto racing or motorsports a plus


CHALLENGE - Solving Complex Problems
COLLABORATION - Building and Supporting Teams
CUSTOMER - Serving Customers
GLOBALITY - Showing Community and Social Responsibility
PEOPLE - Interacting with People at Different Levels

Pay Range

$89,200.00 - $120,316.00 

Pay will be based on several variables that are unique to each candidate, including but not limited to, job-related skills, experience, relevant education or training, etc.


Equal Employment Opportunities

KUS provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, including pregnancy and childbirth and related medical conditions, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, legally protected physical disability or mental disability, legally protected medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, family care or medical leave status, protected veteran or military status, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.  KUS complies with applicable law governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which KUS has offices.  The KUS EEO policy applies to all areas of employment, including recruitment, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, benefits, discipline, termination and all other privileges, terms and conditions of employment.


Disclaimer:  The above information on this job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification and for this position.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.

Nearest Major Market: Irvine California
Nearest Secondary Market: Los Angeles

Job Segment: Testing, Developer, Engineer, Electronics Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Technology, Engineering