SAN FRANCISCO -- The churn at Kia Motors America continues.
Kia has restructured its U.S. sales organization by splitting the country into two regions instead of four, with Percy Vaughn leading the Eastern region and Phil Kelley leading the Western region, the Korean automaker told dealers at the NADA convention. That shuffle, combined with the departure of Kia's No. 2 U.S. sales executive, marks the second major shake-up in the course of a year.
Adam Perlow was vice president of sales at KMA until last month. He had been promoted into that position last February upon the sudden departure of Chrysler veteran Tom Loveless, who had worked at Kia since 2007.
Michael Sprague, the executive vice president of sales and marketing at KMA, confirmed that Perlow is no longer working for the company.
Kia had few other surprises for dealers, aside from showing a commercial featuring the redesigned Sorento crossover that was scheduled to air Sunday, Feb. 1, during the Super Bowl. A spokesman confirmed that Kia didn't disclose any new details on future products or offer a sales projection for 2015.
Kia said its new dealer council chairman will be Benny Yount, the owner of Paramount Automotive Group in Hickory, N.C. Yount did not attend the meeting, nor did his predecessor.
Afterward, few dealers would speak about the brand's outlook. Several told Automotive News they had been warned not to talk to the press.
One person who agreed to speak was Jamie Auffenberg, an Illinois dealer and NADA board member who represents Kia dealers to the organization. He said Kia dealers are largely optimistic about the brand; its U.S. sales rose 8 percent in 2014 to 580,234 vehicles.
"I think they said more than 200 dealers are building new facilities," Auffenberg said. "They're spending a lot of money. They wouldn't be spending it if they weren't feeling good about the franchise."
Ryan Beene contributed to this report.