Kia America picks up American Honda sales manager Steven Center

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Kia America has appointed Steven Center, Honda’s longtime US sales manager, as COO and Executive Vice President.

Center, Kia said in a press release, will oversee “the strategy and execution of Kia’s sales, service and marketing operations” in the United States. He will join the company on Monday and report to Sean Yoon, CEO of Kia North America.

Center was chosen, in part, to advance the Korean automaker’s focus on sustainable mobility and alternative fuel vehicles, Yoon said in the statement.

Kia also cited Center’s in-depth knowledge of the US market.

“Having held various positions at Honda since 1993, Center brings a wealth of experience to its new role at Kia,” said the automaker.

Center responsibilities at American Honda over the years have included production planning, certified pre-owned vehicle sales, dealer communication, and export sales and distribution. Most recently, he was Vice President of Automotive Sales.

“This is a time of tremendous change in the automotive industry and I look forward to working closely with the management team and retailers to implement Kia’s ambitious sustainable mobility plans,” Center said. in the press release.

Kia America posted record sales in the United States last year, crossing 700,000 vehicles for the first time, and is rapidly deploying additional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles.

But the brand has experienced a certain turnover in the operating position in the USA

In December 2020, Kia America appointed Bill Peffer, Sales Director, as COO effective January 1, 2021. Peffer resigned after a week and accepted a position at Maserati as CEO for North America.

Prior to Peffer, the No.2 spot at Kia America was held by Michael Cole, who left in June 2020 and joined Hyundai Europe as CEO.

Cole had been in the Kia operating position for just over two years when he moved to Hyundai. Kia and Hyundai share the same parent company, Hyundai Motor Group.

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