Kia Motors America elevates Cole to president

Kia Motors America has promoted Michael Cole to the role of president, effective Nov. 11, the South Korean automaker said Thursday.

Cole, 55, the U.S. unit’s COO and executive vice president, will continue to report to Sean Yoon, CEO of Kia Motors North America.

“Michael Cole has helped reintroduce the Kia brand in the U.S., and Kia has outperformed the industry through the first three quarters of 2019. Under his guidance, Kia will continue to raise awareness and grow sales and market share in the United States,” said Yoon in a statement.

In May 2018, Cole came to the U.S. from Kia’s operation in Europe, where he was COO, succeeding Michael Sprague. While there, the European unit experienced a 40 percent increase in sales, outpacing the market’s 27 percent sales increase.

Cole also had previous roles with Kia Motors U.K. and Toyota during his career of 30-plus years.

Through the first nine months of the year, Kia’s U.S. sales rose 2.6 percent in a market down 1.6 percent, partly on strong sales of the new Telluride large crossover. The brand’s light-truck sales were up 11 percent in the same period.

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