Former Fiat head of brand FCA Group UK Kate McLaren has joined Kia Motor UK as the Korean brand’s new general manager of customer quality.
McLaren, who has also spent time at Citroen UK, Renault UK and the Volkswagen Group, will manage a wide team spanning customer experience, data strategy and the Kia Academy, which manages all the OEM’s dealer training and development requirements in the UK.
Central to her role, however, is a responsibility for the ongoing delivery of the Kia Customer Quality strategy – ensuring that Kia customers achieve an outstanding experience.
McLaren said: “I’m delighted to be joining Kia at this pivotal time as the brand embarks on its mission to sell more eco-cars.
“With an increased development of eco products and the sheer level of technology on most of our cars, there’s a tremendous opportunity for dealership staff to engage with customers, providing much needed advice and guidance and, of course, exceptional service.
“I very much look forward to supporting the Kia Network in achieving our eco ambitions and continuing to deliver outstanding customer experiences.”
Kia is already enjoying high demand for its e-Niro electric vehicle (EV) and 2020 will bring an updated version of the crossover along with an all-new version of the Soul EV.
A statement issued by Kia this week stated that McLaren’s short term objective is to ensure that in all the Kia dealerships across the UK, “the basics” are being met correctly every time, measurable against sales and aftersales customer satisfaction surveys.
She believes this can be implemented through the provision of effective training and showroom tools like lead management.
“In the long term, Kate plans to consider the customer journey as a whole and how Kia might make that journey as seamless as possible whilst increasing engagement through stand-out experiences on and offline”, the statement added.
Commenting on McLaren’s appointments, Simon Hetherington, Kia Motors UK’s commercial director, said: “We very much look forward to having Kate on board with us here at Kia and I wholeheartedly believe she will be an integral part of the company.
“As 2020 approaches, we are faced with an exciting yet challenging year. Kate’s forward thinking and customer centred strategies will certainly be an asset in maintaining consumer satisfaction as Kia continues to expand into the electric vehicle market.”
Kia managing director, Paul Philpott, told AM at the launch of the new Xceed crossover that the brand could achieve 120,000 vehicle sales after projecting a record 97,000 sales for the brand in 2019.
Year to date to the end of October, the brand's UK new car registrations were up 1.54% at 86,345 (85,038) - putting it on course to achieve the target. - accroding to data published by the Society of Motor Manufactuers and Traders (SMMT).