Byung Mo Ahn is named chairman and group CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Mfg. Georgia, KMA says.

Ahn currently is president of parent company Kia Motors Corp., which says he has been appointed to the newly created positions due to the importance of the U.S. market both for Kia and the overall auto industry.

Ahn served as CEO of KMA from 1999-2001 and most recently held the position of CEO of Kia’s West Point, GA, plant that is slated to open in fall 2009.

Ahn, who has spent more than 30 years with the Hyundai Motor Automotive Group, will be based in Irvine, CA, where KMA is headquartered.