Kia Motors (UK), the new company formed to handle the marque’s distribution in the UK, has poached Mitsubishi’s UK sales and marketing director Paul Williams to be its managing director.
The South Korean car marque is probably best known in the UK for its quirky advertising, created by Mustoe Merriman Levy, which encourages car owners to “Think before you drive” and use alternative transport or walk, rather than take the car on short journeys. Media buying is by Starcom Motive. Kia spent 4m on advertising in the year to the end of June 2002, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Before being appointed sales and marketing director of Mitsubishi in 1999, Williams had been managing director of Daihatsu UK. He has also worked for Mercedes, Nissan and Peugeot-Talbot.
The marque used to be distributed in the UK by Kia Cars (UK), part of MCL, a joint venture between Britain’s Inchcape and Japan’s Itochu Group. MCL also handled Mazda cars. However, earlier this year, Hyundai, which owns Kia, decided to take over distribution, and paid an undisclosed sum to MCL to break its contract.
Most of Kia Cars’ staff, including marketing director Guy Jones, transferred to Kia Motors, but managing director Mark Quinn left to become a consultant in the motor industry.