Kia Hotseat Reopens When COO Exits the Building

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
kia hotseat reopens when coo exits the building

Kia Motors America is looking for a new number two behind Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia Motors America, because as reported by Automotive News, COO Bill Peffer quit one week into the job.

Sources within Kia said a successor to Peffer has not yet been appointed after his resignation last week. There was no indication where Peffer may be headed, and Kia has not hinted who may be taking his place.

Peffer joined Kia Motors America in July 2017 as vice president of sales operations, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Peffer characterized himself as an accomplished automotive sales and marketing executive with 27 years of wholesale and retail automotive sales, marketing, advertising, financial operations, transaction price management, product development, and overseas national sales experience with both domestic and foreign OEMs. He went on to say he possesses a global perspective of brand marketing and product lifecycle management. An experienced senior leader with the ability to assemble and motivate high-performance organizations and work teams, Peffer has demonstrated his financial and communications acumen in retail and at other automakers.

On January 1, 2021, Peffer started as Kia’s COO, a move the company made along with elevating Russell Wager to vice president of marketing. Wager had been director of marketing operations at Kia since July 2019, and prior to that was vice president of marketing at Mazda North American Operations. According to our source, Kia said the promotions were made to stimulate growth and foster a team-building atmosphere, internally and with their network of suppliers.

Peffer had been president and COO of Balise Motor Sales, a dealership group based in West Springfield, Massachusetts, for nearly three years prior to joining Kia. Before joining Balise, Peffer served as Cadillac’s head of sales and service for a year, and as managing director and CEO of Nissan Australia Pty. Ltd., among other posts in nearly eight years with Nissan Motor Corporation.

Where Peffer will resurface is anyone’s guess, although there is speculation that he may be headed to another automaker based in Southern California.

[Images: Kia]

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  • FerrariLaFerrariFace FerrariLaFerrariFace on Jan 11, 2021

    Found one guy that doesn't like the new logo.

  • Canam23 Canam23 on Jan 11, 2021

    Kia has notoriously bad relations with its dealers. Here in Los Angeles I bought a Kia from a dealership who told me that they hated being a Kia franchise, not because of the product, but because of how difficult the parent company was. They closed a few months after I had bought the car. Then Galpin motors opened up a Kia dealership here and Galpin is a huge and very successful company, within a year the closed as well, same reasons. It's a shame because while I really like the product, Kia dealerships tend to be low rent and the salesforce very creepy.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 12, 2021

      The Kia dealer nearest me is obnoxious, so I deal with the one farther away. They've been great for two purchases, some window shopping, and the little bit of service I've needed. Both dealers are part of separate mega-franchises. I'd avoid the former for any of its brands, not just Kia.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂