Mazda Motor Europe has appointed Ichiro Hirose to oversee the automaker's research and development facility in the European region. Hirose is a veteran executive and leading engineer on the development team of the company. He will be replacing Hiroyuki Matsumoto in the position of vice president of research and development in Europe, effective immediately.
Matsumoto will become the platform program manager, returning to Japan at the automaker's headquarters. Mazda Europe's CEO Jeff Guyton commented that Hirose is an "outstanding" development engineer with nearly 20 years of management experience.
He also said that they are "very grateful" to have Hirose as Matsumoto's replacement. In 1984, Hirose worked with Mazda and for the next 25 years, he took various senior managerial positions in engine and powertrain development. He became the general manager of the powertrain development division in 2009.
Now, he is the head of the R&D center of Mazda Europe. Together with Matsumoto, Hirose engaged in the development of Mazda's CX-5 small crossover, which is considered to be a crucial vehicle to help boost the sales of Mazda in Europe and in the U.S.
Sales of the CX-5 commenced in March. It launched the automaker's latest 'Kodo' design philosophy and introduced the next-generation transmission, engine, frame technologies and chassis, which the automaker collectively dubbed Skyactiv.