Akira Marumoto has been named CEO of Mazda, and will take over from Masamichi Kogai on June 26, assuming he gains shareholder approval.
Marumoto (above) is being elevated into the company’s top job from his role as head of Mazda’s North American operations, a position he has held since 2013.
During his time there he’s sought to improve the dealer network, and lift its market share to a “sustainable” two per cent without resorting to cheap sales or overly generous incentives — year-to-date Mazda accounts for around 2.1 per cent of the US market.
Although Mazda is a small player on the global automotive stage, it currently enjoys a 10.0 per cent share in Australia, trailing only Toyota (18.5 per cent).
“In terms of profit and brand, the US is the highest priority,” Marumoto said at a press conference shortly after being named as Mazda’s new CEO.
According to Automotive News, Marumoto has been instrumental to the company’s burgeoning relationship with Toyota. Mazda 2 sedans made at the company’s factory in Mexico are sold in the US as the Yaris iA.
The two companies will also open a joint factory in Alabama in 2021. This new plant will build a new crossover for the American market. Output from the new site is planned to lift Mazda’s US sales to around 400,000 per year, and around two million globally, up from an estimated 1.7 million this year.
Mazda is also using hybrid technology from Toyota, and is a part of Toyota’s self-driving vehicle efforts.
The industry publication says Marumoto will have a lot of his plate in 2019, with Mazda set to launch a new architecture, an electric car, and its radical SkyActiv-X compression-ignition petrol engine.
Outgoing CEO Kogai will remain at Mazda, and will become the chairman of the board.