Portuguese national will replace Benny Oeyen

Kia Europe names former VW exec Martins as marketing chief

Portuguese national will replace Benny Oeyen

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FRANKFURT -- Kia's European marketing chief, Benny Oeyen, is being replaced by former Volkswagen executive Artur Martins, the automaker said in a statement.

Oeyen, who has held the post since 2009, will leave the company in April, Kia said.

Martins will develop a younger image for Kia.

Kia did not disclose why Oeyen is quitting the automaker.

Martins, 41, a Portuguese national, joins Kia from Volkswagen in Brazil where he was marketing executive manager. Before joining VW in 2011, he spent 16 years in a number of senior marketing roles for automakers such as Fiat in Portugal and Alfa Romeo, Seat and Toyota in Spain.

Martins will be based at Kia's European marketing, sales and service headquarters in Frankfurt, and will take up the role immediately, the company said.

"We are convinced that Artur Martins will help our brand develop a younger and more positive image in the coming years,'' Michael Cole, chief operating officer at Kia Europe, said in a statement.

After years of fast growth, Kia's vehicle sales have stalled in the slumping European market. The brand increased its market share by one percentage point to 2.8 percent in the first 11 months of 2013 in the EU and EFTA markets, according to industry association ACEA. Sales during the period rose by 0.4 percent to 314,407 units in a total market down by nearly 3 percent.

Belgian national Oeyen, 52, joined Kia in May 2009 as vice president of marketing after spending 19 years working for automotive companies including Ford, Mazda and Chrysler in Europe. Prior to joining Kia, he was director of global product marketing and strategy for Chrysler in Detroit.

You can reach David Jolley at djolley@crain.com.

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