Industry veteran Jan Thompson, who has led North American marketing activities at Mazda, Toyota and Nissan, has been named senior vice president of marketing for Zotye USA, the Chinese automaker with plans to launch retail operations in the United States in late 2020.
Thompson, 69, will hold the same title for Zotye USA's parent company, HAAH Automotive Holdings, which is headquartered in Lake Forest, Calif.
Thompson, named one of Automotive News' 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry in 2005 and 2010, also has been executive vice president of Omnicon Group and vice president of Advanstar Communications Inc. She most recently was Ipsos' senior vice president, North America lead. She will remain on the board of directors at AutoWeb, an automotive media and marketing services company in Irvine, Calif. Her appointment is effective March 1, HAAH said in a statement.
The move reunites Thompson with Zotye USA CEO Duke Hale. In the early 1990s, Hale led sales for Mazda North American Operations while Thompson was in charge of marketing.
Zotye has named its first 10 U.S. franchised retailers and last month said it was in "serious discussions" with about 100 more. It plans to enter the market with two crossovers — compact and midsize models — and they could be followed by a full-size SUV. Hale has said the vehicles will be priced "at least 20 percent better" than their competition.
At last month's NADA Show, Zotye began to lay out some details of its retail strategy, including plans to standardize pricing, prioritize online sales and pay dealers a commission, according to those who signed with the brand.
Zotye also named Susan Bland Norton vice president of marketing. Norton began at her family's Houston dealership, Bland Cadillac, and her experience includes stints with Mazda Chase Auto Finance and Kia. She most recently was account director at ES3 in Fountain Valley, Calif., an automotive marketing and communications firm. Her appointment is effective immediately.
— Staff reports