BREA, CA: American Suzuki Motor Corp. has hired Mike Anson as acting PR manager, snatching him away from rival Hyundai Motor America.
Anson replaces Celeste Speier, who left American Suzuki earlier this summer to start her own PR firm, Inspired PR.
Anson's title won't be finalized until the company completes a review of its PR department structure, he said.
Anson's major goal at Suzuki will be "to increase the awareness of the brand and to enhance that image by placing vehicles in the hands of people who are influencers," he said. That will mean increased outreach to the automotive and lifestyle press.
Well-known as a motorcycle maker, Suzuki has not been a top-of-mind brand in the US car market. "We want to be on the short list" when buyers decide on a new car, Anson said.
The automaker will continue working with Paine PR, he said.
The company's Japanese parent has announced a goal of doubling its US sales to 200,000 cars a year by 2007. It plans to increase its US dealer network by 12% to 600 in the next year.