KIA Motors (UK) has named former Toyota (GB) commercial director Paul Philpott as its new managing director.

Philpott, 40, has joined the Korean brand as it launches its new eastern Europe-built C-segment CEED model here.

Kia has set an ultimate UK sales target of over 100,000 vehicles a year but reached only 35,814 in 2006, down from 39,749 in 2005, so Philpott has some challenges ahead. The Ceed’s arrival – with a variety of body styles all available within a year or so of launch – should help him, though.

The new Kia MD began his career in the financial sector before joining Ford in 1988. After nine years in the UK sales and marketing division, he moved to Toyota as general manager, marketing, and became marketing director in 1999 and commercial director in 2003, responsible for all of Toyota’s commercial operations in the UK – sales, marketing, aftersales and logistics.

Philpott said: “After nine successful years at Toyota during which time we achieved a doubling of new car sales, joining Kia is a fantastic and exciting opportunity for me. With the new range of products, dramatically improved quality and a fast developing dealer network, [the brand] has the potential to achieve rapid growth in the UK car market.”