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Kia hires ex-Maserati exec to head US marketing

PUBLISHED : May 01, 2017 - 14:58

UPDATED : May 01, 2017 - 15:36

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[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors America has tapped former Maserati global CMO Saad Chehab to lead the Korean automaker’s marketing efforts in the all-important US market.

He will take up his new position as Kia’s vice president of marketing communications at its American unit, starting May 8 (local time), according to the automaker.

“Chehab is a recognized innovator with a proven track-record of success. His wide range of experience will strengthen our efforts to raise awareness and improve perceptions of the Kia brand while increasing demand for our world-class products,” said Justin Sohn, president and CEO of Kia Motors America, in a statement. 


Saad Chehab (left) and designer John Varvatos. Chrysler



The latest appointment arrives as Kia is planning to debut its much-touted premium Stinger sports sedan in the US in the second half of this year, following its Korean launch in May.

Kia has high hopes that the rear-wheel drive sedan will revive slowing sales in the US along with its upcoming upgraded K9, the carmaker’s first rear-wheel drive model.

In January-March, Kia sold 128,000 units in the US, down 12.7 percent from a year earlier, despite the launch of new subcompact hybrid SUV Niro in the country in February.

The marketing veteran joined Maserati, Fiat Chrysler’s luxury marque, in November 2013 after spearheading Chrysler and Lancia brands since 2011. Before that he served as a director of advertising and brand marketing for the Chrysler Group.

He is widely credited for his marketing acumen that brought the relatively small luxury brand to grow in the US market, through a Super Bowl ad for its entry-level Ghibli model.

Chehab resigned from his post at Maserati in 2015 citing “personal reasons.”

At Kia, Chehab will report to Michael Sparague, COO of Kia Motors America.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

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