Lotus hires Jean-Charles Lievens, former Kia Europe exec

Lotus hires Jean-Charles Lievens, former Kia Europe exec

Lotus has hired Jean-Charles Lievens, Kia’s former European markets expert, to develop the automaker’s sales network in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Lotus CEO Jean Marc Gales said in a statement that Lievens will help the UK sports car maker to “increase our presence in southern Europe where there is a high demand for Lotus sports cars.”

In 2005 Lievens was named an Automotive News Europe Eurostar for his work in restructuring Kia’s dealer network to help boost its European sales.

In a statement, Lotus said Lievens’ mission is to “strengthen the network with qualified and professional partners in order to optimize and increase the presence of the Lotus brand in the southern European region.”

Born in Paris, Lievens began his automotive career as a sales executive with General Motors in France. After 17 years with GM, he joined Volkswagen in France before being appointed Toyota Europe’s commercial director in 1998.

Lievens joined Kia in 2002 and helped guide the Korean automaker’s expansion in Europe over the next six years, trebling sales in the process from 90,000 units a year to 275,000 units. He left Kia in 2008. He has continued to provide advisory services on strategic projects through his Versailles, France-based consulting firm, Cap Geyser.

Global sales of Lotus cars increased 65 percent to 226 vehicles in July, compared with the same month in 2013, its best sales month since March 2011, according to the company. The increase was driven by strong growth in the UK and Germany, Lotus said.