Automaker Hires Former Nissan and Mitsubishi Execs, Promotes Sales Director

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DETROIT ( -- American Suzuki Motor Corp. hired two outsiders for new key marketing positions and promoted an insider, effective April 1.

Gene Brown joins the automaker as VP-marketing, a new post, from Nissan North America, where he had been truck-model line manager. Chuck Halper, who had been VP-service at Hyundai and then Mitsubishi until 2005, joins in the new post of VP-quality and service. Mr. Halper had been a consultant to Suzuki for the past five months, a spokesman said.

Mweanwhile, Suzuki’s top marketer, Tom Carney, director-sales and marketing, is shifting to VP-sales. Ben Hilverda, who had reported to Mr. Carney, will now report to Mr. Brown and remains marketing communications manager.

Best year in U.S.
Suzuki has been on a hot streak. It sold 82,101 vehicles in the U.S. during calendar 2005 -- the best results in this country in its 21-year history. Last month, U.S. sales jumped 39% to 8,542 units vs. the same month in 2004.

Dentsu’s Colby & Partners, Santa Monica, is Suzuki’s agency of record. The automaker spent $95 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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