Kia Legend - Ian Wilson Retires After 28 Years By: Kia
As one of the very first Kia people back in 1989 and with over 45 years' experience in the automotive industry, Ian Wilson, General Manager - Dealer Development has decided to take a well-earned rest and has retired from the business.
In 1989 Ian started out as a Regional Manager for the East Midlands with MCL Group - who owned the rights to bring Kia to the UK. With a small team around him and prototypes of the Kia Pride, Ian was tasked with starting up the Kia brand within the country and building a dealer network. To recruit Kia dealers across the UK, Ian and his team would drive around in the Kia Prides showing them to the prospective dealers to gain interest.
'If we had known then how well Kia would do we wouldn't have believed it. To think in that first year in 1991 we sold just 1,786 cars, a figure we now reach every week.' Ian commented.
As interest in the brand grew so did Ian's roles within the company from Regional Manager to National Sales Manager, with a spell in Southern Ireland as Executive General Manager before returning to the UK to head up Franchising and Dealer Development. In his last role as General Manager, Ian was responsible for a team of six ensuring that the dealer network grew and expanded in a way that reflected the changing face of the brand, from ensuring dealers adhered to brand guidelines through to choosing tiles for showroom floors!
Paul Philpott, CEO and President of Kia Motors (UK) Ltd. said 'Ian is one of the founding fathers of the Kia family in the UK. He has had a vitally important role within Kia every step of the way and we thank him for dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism. He will be greatly missed but I know that he will enjoy his well-earned retirement'
Ian has been involved with nearly every dealer appointment since 1989 through to 2017 raising the dealer network across the UK from 90 to 189 dealerships. With a wealth of experience and knowledge about the brand Ian will be very much missed.
Ian further commented 'The brand and its range of cars has grown beyond recognition and being involved right from the start in the UK has made me hugely proud of the Kia family. After 28 years it's time for me to step back and relax and spend time with my family'.
Stepping into Ian's shoes as Head of Dealer Development is Ian Kewley who has worked in the franchising team with Ian since 2007. With over 25 years' experience in the motor industry as well as finance and banking, Ian brings a wealth of expertise to the role.
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'I'm looking forward to working with and supporting our dealer network in the next phase of Kia's development in the UK and building on the excellent relationship we have with our dealer partners - as reflected in the recent NFDA survey where Kia was undoubtedly number one.