Subaru Corporation's announcement gives us a good idea of what's coming for the Japanese automaker. First, customers will see a significant transformation take place. Subaru is good now, but they are poised to be great again.
Subaru Corporation says, "This decision (making a top management change) was made to shift to a new management structure to accelerate the Company's efforts to address the profound transformation that the automotive industry is undergoing. Accordingly, the Company will formulate a new management vision this year and strive to achieve it under its new management team."
Subaru's new President and CEO will be Atsushi Osaki, who currently holds the position of Director and Executive Vice President and Chief General Manager of the Manufacturing Division.
Osaki replaces Tomomi Nakamura because this year concludes the 5-year implementation period of Subaru's mid-term management vision, "STEP," formulated in 2018. And because of the current automotive climate moving to electric vehicles, it's time for significant changes for the Japanese automaker.
Subaru of America (SOA) announced it has a new President and CEO. Tom Doll is out, and Tadashi Yoshida is the new CEO. Tom Doll took the Camden, N.J. automaker to new heights, but it's time for a new regime to take SOA to the next level.
Atsushi Osaki, a 35-year veteran of Subaru, is not a flash-in-the-pan management change for Subaru Corporation. Instead, he will guide the automaker to make changes in the direction it had been going. For example, Subaru Corporation was slow to develop new electric models, but that will change now.
Osaki told Automotive News the Japanese automaker would make the changes necessary to respond quickly to market trends. The new CEO said Subaru would be flexible as it accelerates toward electrification.
What does it mean for U.S. customers?
The CEO says Subaru will seek to grow in the U.S. and regain its market presence. The U.S., which constitutes Subaru's biggest market by far (70%), still holds lots of potential, Osaki said. "I believe we can still grow our sales in the U.S.," he said.
"In the medium to long term, we are in a once-in-century tumultuous time in the automotive industry," Osaki said. "Even in our main battleground, the U.S. market, it is still unclear and hard to determine how electrification will go from here. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about uncertainty, so we will try to respond flexibly to changes in the market environment."
Subaru of America also announced it has a new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In addition, effective April 1, Tom Doll, President and Chief Executive Officer, will step down from the Company's day-to-day management and assume the role of Corporate Advisor based at the Camden headquarters.
Effective April 1, Tadashi Yoshida will be promoted to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Subaru of America from his current position of Executive Vice President. Yoshida is a 34-year veteran with Subaru Corp. and has been with SOA for two years. He previously held executive positions within Subaru in Overseas Sales and Marketing, Global Marketing, and the Customer Service Division.
In addition, SOA announced that Jeffrey Walters, currently Senior Vice President of Sales, will be promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer. Walters has more than 30 years of experience with SOA. Before becoming Senior Vice President in 2014, Walters worked as Vice President, Field Operations.
Previously, he was Director, Field Operations, Regional Sales Manager, and Brand Strategy Manager.
The common trend among the management changes is long-term tenure with Subaru. For example, Atsushi Osaki is a 35-year veteran of Subaru, Tadashi Yoshida is a 34-year veteran with Subaru Corp., and Jeffrey Walters has over 30 years of experience with SOA.
It's a new day at Subaru Corporation and Subaru of America as the current CEOs will soon step down, and younger men will take over the reins. Younger men with the experience Subaru wants. Look for significant changes in the electrification of Subaru models. Still, the automaker will keep its core values of fun-to-drive, all-wheel-drive, outdoor-ready, safety, and value-focused. Can Subaru go from good to great in the new EV era? Stay tuned.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA