Ho-Sung Song has been named as Kia’s top executive in Europe. Song, who is a business improvement expert for Hyundai Motor Group, grabs the position as Hyundai aims to maintain its sales growth in the struggling region. Song is the replacement for Brandon Yea, who will now become responsible for the commercial vehicle export business at Hyundai Motor, based in Seoul, Korea.
The 51-year-old Song became a part of Hyundai Motor in 1988 and since then, has occupied several senior positions in both Hyundai and Kia. He served as the president of Kia France from 2007. This stint lasted for almost three years before he was assigned to head Kia's export planning group. Song was responsible for Hyundai's business improvement groups before he took on the role as head of Kia Europe.
Kia claims that Song will be working together with Kia Europe's CEO Michael Cole to lead the brand to achieve more growth in Europe, which is still a weak market. Kia’s auto sales in Europe have experienced years of quick growth but currently, sales have stalled. In 2012, Kia’s sales volume rose by almost 15% in the EU and EFTA markets compared with 2011.
However, growth in the first eight months was only at 0.4%, even as the market had dropped by 5%. Sales in August fell 4%. Kia’s market share in Europe had widened from 2.2% in 2011 to 2.7% last year. In the first eight months of the year, the brand’s market share has stayed at 2.7%.
Yea, who goes back to Seoul after serving two years as Kia's top executive in Europe, will develop and oversee the strategy to expand Hyundai Motor's commercial vehicle business on a global scale.
When interviewed by Automotive News Europe last year, Yea said that even with the current problems in Europe, Kia will stick to its goal of increasing annual sales in the region to 420,000 units by 2016 from 338,000 units last year