Hyundai Marketer Departs

DALLAS Michelle Cervantez has left Hyundai as vice president of marketing just 13 months after joining the company from Mercedes-Benz, the automaker said.

Her departure comes after Hyundai reported September sales fell 13 percent to 33,384 vehicles compared to the same month a year ago.

Chief operating officer Steve Wilhite, who played key roles in marketing at Nissan and Volkswagen, joined Hyundai two months ago, though it was unclear if his arrival precipitated her departure.

“I am very proud of the work that we’ve done during my tenure and the significant advances the company has achieved in positive brand consideration, building consumer interest and overall growth,” said Cervantez in a statement provided by Hyundai. No successor has been named. Hyundai did not address her future plans.

“Michelle has made a number of significant contributions to the company during her time at Hyundai and all of us appreciate the hard work and effort she put into elevating the Hyundai brand,” said Wilhite.

Hyundai’s $425 million advertising account is handled by independent The Richards Group in Dallas.

Cervantez became the only female vice president at Mercedes-Benz’s Montvale, N.J., headquarters when she joined from Ford in March 2003.

Cervantez, according to sources, had left Mercedes because she wanted to work in California, where Hyundai is based.