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How Subaru Will Transform Itself From Good To Great In The New EV Era

What's in the store now for Subaru of America with its new CEO? The Japanese automaker will be ready for a transformation.

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Subaru announced two new CEOs recently. Subaru of America gets a new CEO on April, 1,2023, and Subaru Corporation gets its new boss in June 2023. So what will it mean for customers now?

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.

2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric compact SUV

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.

2023 Subaru Solterra

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.

2023 Subaru Solterra

"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

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bob E (not verified)    March 19, 2023 - 3:54PM

I'd like to see an electric Subaru 360 (aka 'ladybug') EV with a range of 120 miles to compete with the MINI Cooper SE. Not everyone needs a range of 300 miles.

And I wish they'd bring back the BRAT or Baja. A PHEV this time.

NMK (not verified)    March 20, 2023 - 1:17PM

Subaru has another thing coming if they think management changes are going to save then in the EV world. IMO the move to EVs is going to hurt them big time. The single biggest thing that sells subarus is the fact the have THE BEST mechanical AWD systems on the market. EVs are going to take that advantage away. Damn near every EV coming out has an AWD option. They are all going to end up functioning about the same. Electric motors can be made to do anything you want, its just software programming at that point. They have their work cut out for them. Subaru needs to come up with a new gimmick because the "symmetrical AWD" train is running out of steam.

LKM (not verified)    March 21, 2023 - 10:16PM

In reply to by NMK (not verified)

I concur - I am a very long-time Subaru owner (own a Forester at the moment) and over the years the symmetrical AWD helped me out on numerous occasions. They once had eyesight technology, boxer engines and the best AWD that set them apart. With more cars coming with AWD, more cars with low emissions and more cars with advanced safety features and a massive trend to EVs sadly Subaru sales will lessen. I am not sure how many current Subaru owners are on their last Subaru or only have one more left in them.