January 28, 2021 – Kia Europe has appointed Sjoerd Knipping as its new Director of Product and Planning. Knipping will be based at Kia’s European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, working alongside the company’s senior executive team.
Knipping will be responsible for shaping Kia Europe’s product strategy, part of the company’s brand relaunch that will see the introduction of many exciting new products – including seven new fully dedicated electric vehicles by 2027. Knipping will also help to establish a digital product framework that focuses on connectivity tech and Kia UVO Connect (KUC).
Knipping brings with him more than twenty years of automotive expertise and experience having successfully held several positions in marketing and sales for Kia Netherlands since 2011, including his final post as Commercial Director.
On his appointment as Director for Product and Planning for Kia Europe, Knipping said: “I am very happy – and at the same time very proud – to be offered this unique opportunity. In recent years, Kia has acquired a firm place at the very top of the best-selling automotive brands not only in the Netherlands, but also in Europe. This success is due to a modern, versatile and well-positioned model range, the unsurpassed 7-year manufacturer's warranty and a strong dealer organization. And in addition to these factors, Kia has developed into a major player in the field of electrified mobility.”
“I am now looking forward to taking up the challenge on a pan-European level, picking up from the amazing work achieved in this area, and continuing our recent success.”
Jason Jeong, President at Kia Europe, commented: “This is a very exciting period for Kia, following our strategically important company rebrand. We are embarking on a new and exciting period of EV development and that starts with a dedicated, high-tech electric model due for market release later this year.
“Sjoerd’s expertise in this area – as well as his rich experience across all facets of automotive product planning and pricing – will be invaluable to us as our European journey gathers momentum.”
Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1973, Knipping graduated with a Masters in International Business at Maastricht University and began his automotive career with Ford Motor Company in Cologne, Germany. Having worked his way up at Ford moving from finance and pricing positions to senior sales and commercial roles, Knipping joined Kia Netherlands in 2011 with the ambition to propel the company into the top five automotive brands in the country. In 2018 – the 25th year of Kia Netherlands – the company realized the top five ambition and just two years later, against a hugely challenging 2020 Covid-19 backdrop, Kia Netherlands increased its market share to an all-time high of 7.5%, playing an important role in Kia Europe’s overall success.