Howard Slade, Kia Motors UK head of operations, describes the poor take-up as “appalling” in an email to all dealer principals, which AM has seen.
He states: “Given KMUK spent such a huge amount on the Sportage launch entertaining and providing the opportunity for you all to drive Sportage, I am less than impressed that many of you can’t be bothered to make such a small investment in encouraging your sales executives to have the same enthusiasm.”
In December, KMUK paid for all dealer principals to attend the Sportage launch in Switzerland. Slade continues: “Obviously I will monitor these non-supporting dealers and in general will return the compliment.”
KMUK’s director of communications Steve Kitson told AM 111 delegates from two-thirds of the network attended, but the importer was disappointed not to have full support because the training would ultimately make it easier for sales executives to sell the Sportage. However, he insists those dealers which hadn’t sent delegates would not be penalised.
Kia dealers pay KMUK a £60 one-off registration fee for each sales executive which entitles that employee to life-long training. However, in this case, Kia had put on an additional day of on- and off-road driving and sat-nav training. The total cost was £500 per delegate, of which KMUK paid half.