LOS ANGELES - Peter Butterfield has moved swiftly to stamp his imprint on Kia Motors America Inc. since taking over as COO in November.
He and President J.H. Lee have recruited 14 experienced executives from Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volvo and Mitsubishi for key marketing, sales and administration posts, and promoted 14 others from within the company.
And he has fired a shot across the bow of a dealer base that has grown lax on a diet of steady, easy growth, warning that the time has come to shape up, by upgrading their investments, or to ship out.
His goal: turn Kia into a true competitor to Toyota, Nissan and Honda.