Kerri Martin Joins Coda Automotive

BOSTON Kerri Martin, one of the auto industry’s most influential marketers in recent years, has joined Coda Automotive as the first chief marketing officer at the maker of electric cars and batteries.

Kevin Czinger, client president and CEO, said in a statement that Martin would be instrumental in crafting “a fully-integrated, customer-centric Coda brand experience.”

Her initial task will be overseeing the launch of Coda’s four-door, five-passenger electric sedan in 2010.

Coda’s deal with New York’s Droga5 for initial identity work and branding expires at month’s end. Will Martin launch a review or look to hire a new ad partner? A client rep said: “When Kerri begins work at Coda, she will evaluate the company’s go-to-market strategy and determine if there is a need to bring on an advertising agency.”

The sedan is set for a fall 2010 launch in California. Media spending and strategy have not been finalized.

Martin is best known for her run at Volkswagen of America, where she served as director of brand innovation and marketing communications.

She made industry headlines in September 2005 when she shifted the $350-400 million VW account from longtime lead agency Arnold in Boston (which coined the iconic phrase “Drivers wanted”) to Crispin, Porter + Bogusky in Miami without a review.

Crispin had gained Martin’s confidence by working on Mini campaigns under her stewardship a few years before. She served as marketing director at BMW’s Mini USA from 2000-05, having joined the nascent Mini in 2000, tasked with reintroducing the brand in the U.S. after a nearly four-decade hiatus.

Prior to that, she held marketing posts at BMW Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson.

Martin left VW in early 2007, and she established a marketing consultancy called Goosebumps in January 2008.