Vehicle quality and a new owner-loyalty cash-back program were among the topics Kia Motors America Inc. and its dealers discussed at the make meeting, the Kia dealer council chairman said.
Terry Petersen, owner of Reno Mazda-Kia in Reno, Nev., said Kia stressed that it is continuing to focus heavily on quality control and hopes to change consumers' perception of Kia with a new owner-loyalty initiative.
Under the program, any consumer who purchased a new Kia from the 1994 model year through the current model year is eligible for an incentive of $2,000 on the Sedona minivan and Optima full-sized sedan or $1,000 on its other vehicles, Petersen said.
That's in addition to the company's existing consumer rebate programs that range from $1,000 to $3,000.
"Old customers who bought Kias before - yes, they are coming back in," Petersen said.
Kia spokesman Kim Custer said the company began notifying previous Kia buyers via direct mail in late January. He said 500,000 Kia new-car customers will receive the offer, which expires at the end of March.
Tom Dolan, Petersen's business partner and Nevada NADA director, said he is impressed with Kia's commitment to customer satisfaction.
"Customer satisfaction programs cost money, and they're willing to do it," Dolan said. "That was the best thing we could hear today. Our president, (Kia Motors America president and CEO) Peter Butterfield, is dedicated to that. He's got his stuff together."
Butterfield said the company is working hard to improve product and has hired 25 dedicated product and technological engineers and a director to oversee the efforts.
In June the company will launch a program to reward financially dealers who do well in customer satisfaction.