China’s Zotye adds marketing vet Jan Thompson to U.S. team

Susan Bland Norton becomes vice president of marketing. She began at her family’s Houston dealership, Bland Cadillac, and her experience includes stints with Mazda Chase Auto Finance and Kia. She most recently was account director at ES3 in Fountain Valley, Calif., an automotive marketing and communications firm. Her appointment is effective immediately.

The move reunites Thompson with Zotye USA CEO Duke Hale. In the early 1990s, Hale led sales for Mazda North American Operations while Thompson was in charge of marketing.

Zotye has named its first 10 U.S. franchised retailers and last month said it was in “serious discussions” with about 100 more. It plans to enter the market with two crossovers — compact and midsize models — and they could be followed by a full-size SUV. Hale has said the vehicles will be priced “at least 20 percent better” than their competition.

At last month’s NADA Show, Zotye began to lay out some details of its retail strategy, including plans to standardize pricing, prioritize online sales and pay dealers a commission, according to those who signed with the brand.