You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Mitsubishi Motors North America Names Ryujiro Kobashi as New CEO

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/5/2014 Erick Ayapana

Mitsubishi has appointed Ryujiro Kobashi as the new President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, effective on March 1. Kobashi is replacing Yoichi Yokozawa, who will return to Japan for another assignment in the automaker’s Corporate Planning Office.

Kobashi will be promoted from his post as Mitsubishi’s Corporate General Manager of the North America Office in Japan, where he directed operations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Since 1983, Kobashi has filled a number of roles at Mitsubishi, including a stint at the company’s Overseas Planning Department and as a manager for the marketing team in Germany and the Netherlands.

"I am very much looking forward to this new opportunity as we navigate Mitsubishi Motors North America to thrive in the U.S. market under MMC's 'New Stage 2016' business plan," Kobashi said in a statement.

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander The “New Stage 2016” plan is Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko’s goal to reorganize the automaker’s product lineup, which currently includes 23 models based on 12 platforms. By 2016, Mitsubishi plans to sell 13 models based on 7 platforms.

That said, the appointment of Kobashi should further solidify Mitsubishi’s commitment to stay in the U.S. Kobashi faces the daunting task of reversing Mitsubishi’s years-long decline in the U.S., due to a shrinking product portfolio that no longer includes the sporty Eclipse and the midsize Galant sedan. Masuko previously said a new Galant is on the way and will be based on a platform from Renault, though it’s unclear if the car will be a simple rebadge or a much more extensive endeavor. Another significant car in the pipeline is the Lancer Evolution, rumored to get a high-performance hybrid powertrain.

In the immediate future, Kobashi will oversee the U.S. launch of the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), which has been delayed due to battery supply issues. The Outlander PHEV is supposed to serve as the catalyst for future hybrid crossovers, including the Outlander Sport PHEV.

Source: Mitsubishi

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S AWC© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S AWC

More from Motor Trend


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon