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(April 4, 2001) -- Kia Motors America, of Irvine, Calif., said today that Dick Macedo, executive vice president-sales and marketing, will resign Friday after nearly eight years with the South Korean car importer. first reported Tuesday that Mr. Macedo was being forced out, a move which he denied.

Kia, in a prepared statement, said Mr. Macedo "decided the time was right to spend more time with his family and turn his interests elsewhere."

On Tuesday, Kia had announced it sold a record 19,159 vehicles in March, or 51% more than a year ago. But an executive close to the situation said Mr. Macedo's Korean bosses were disappointed because they wanted a 70% increase in sales, prompting rumors that Mr. Macedo was being forced out.

Mr. Macedo told that he had "missed" projected sales goals but called the news of his ouster a "rumor."

Mr. Macedo is one of the seven original U.S. executives with Kia Motors America since its formation. He joined Kia in 1993 from Wells Rich Greene BDDP/West, where he was president.

Mr. Macedo was honored in 1996 by Advertising Age's Marketing 100 for Kia's succesful U.S. roll-out from a regional to national player. The brand has enjoyed rising sales in recent years. -- Jean Halliday

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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