Michael Kistemaker left American Honda Motor Co. nearly two months ago as assistant vice president of sales for Honda.
A Honda spokesperson confirmed Kistemaker's departure but did not provide information on who will replace him as the brand tries to build back lost momentum.
Kistemaker is now vice president of OEM relations and strategy for Ken Garff Automotive Group, a family-owned dealership group based in Salt Lake City that operates stores in eight states, including three Honda dealerships.
A Garff spokesperson confirmed that Kistemaker joined the group in August.
Kistemaker said he will help Garff, with 60 plus stores and 22 brands, navigate the auto industry's transition over the next decade, including changing sales models and the rollout of EVs.
“I had a great, 22-year career with Honda and I have always had a relationship with Brett Hopkins, CEO of Ken Garff Automotive Group," Kistemaker told Automotive News, adding he also "will be helping Brett with acquisition strategy.”
Kistemaker started at Honda as a district sales manager in Atlanta in 2000. In 2002, he became assistant manager of national sales, where he stayed for six years. In 2008, he began overseeing the Western zone for Acura, a position he kept until 2013. The following year, he returned to the Honda side to manage the Western zone.
He was promoted in 2019 to senior manager of Honda national sales and again in 2020 to assistant vice president of Honda sales.
He most recently helped launch the redesigned Ridgeline pickup, compact Civic and HR-V crossover.
Honda has struggled to keep up with customer demand because of shortages of microchips and other parts and materials, which has depleted output and inventories.
Through the first nine months of 2022, Honda brand U.S. sales skidded 38 percent from a year earlier, with 653,605 vehicles sold through September. September marked the brand's 14th straight monthly decline.
Ken Garff Automotive Group ranks No. 9 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 58,787 new vehicles in 2021.