Osamu Masuko plans to step down from his post as president of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and be replaced by current Managing Director Tetsuro Aikawa on April 1, 2014, according to a report by the Nikkei business daily. April 1, 2014 marks the start of the new fiscal year for the carmaker.
According to the Nikkei, Masuko is expected to become both chairman and chief executive, while Aikawa will be the carmaker’s new chief operating officer. The CEO and COO posts are newly created roles at Mitsubishi.
In his new role, Masuko will focus on building partnerships with other carmakers. Mitsubishi, however, said in a statement that nothing has been decided. Aikawa is noted for leading the development of minicars like Mitsubishi's eK Wagon and the egg-shaped i runabout.
He started his career at the Japanese carmaker in 1978 and became a member of the board of directors in 2005. He also has experience in local sales and manufacturing.
Since 2011, Aikawa has been leading Mitsubishi's global production division, in charge of overseeing the realignment of the carmaker’s sites in the US and Japan.
The product and manufacturing revamp entailed stopping production of US-only models like the Eclipse, Endeavor and Galant at the carmaker’s Normal site in Illinois and shifting its output to the Outlander Sport, a key model sold by Mitsubishi around the world.
Under Aikawa, Mitsubishi was able to consolidate its model lineup in Japan and had launched a new mini vehicle joint venture with Nissan Motor Co. at its Mizushima site. "He's a real car guy," Mitsubishi spokeswoman Namie Koketsu said.
In an interview with Automotive News in December, Masuko was wary on the length of his stay with the Mitsubishi, which he joined in 2005 to help bail out. "At that time, I went around all the plants at MMC. Before me, there was, on average, nine different presidents over nine years," Masuko said.
In December, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) revealed that new 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV would feature an expanded standard equipment package and will be priced $6,130 price less than the 2012 model.
Featuring CHAdeMO DC quick charge port, battery warming system and heated side view mirrors, the new 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV ES model can be availed for only $22,995, sans Federal tax credit. If the $7,500 Federal tax credit is factored in, the 2014 i-MiEV ES will have a net price of $15,495. This means that the new i-MiEV ES offers a good value with its more comprehensive standard equipment package. [source: automotive news - sub. required]