Kia Motors America has promoted Len Hunt to president and chief executive officer, from executive vice president and chief operating officer for KMA during the past two years, replacing BG Lee who has returned to Korea.

"This decision reflects a solid vote of confidence in the leadership of Len Hunt," said Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) president and CEO ES Chung. "He has put together and empowered a team of seasoned professionals to help Kia flexibly meet the changing US market situation, and he is the right choice to lead the company going forward."

Kia Motors America has about 630 dealers in the United States.

In a surprise move, Hunt, formerly executive vice president of Volkswagen America, joined Kia at its US headquarters in Irvine, California, as executive vice president and chief operating officer, in October 2005.

He had been expected to swap his VW job with a colleague from Bentley's Crewe, UK, headquarters but took the Kia post instead.

Before his stint at Volkswagen, Hunt spent five years heading sales, marketing and product planning divisions at Audi of America. Before that he managed Audi UK.