Hisao Kaide was named president of Irvine-based Mazda North America Inc., the U.S. representative office of Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp.
He succeeds Akira Toriyama, who served as the company’s president since 1981.
Kaide’s appointment is a bid by Mazda to increase U.S. sales, a Mazda spokesman said. Most recently Kaide was manager of Mazda Motor Corp.'s corporate product planning office in Japan and before that was manager of the company’s advertising division.
With the recent expiration of Japanese auto import quotas, Mazda is vying to increase sales and bolster its market share by improving its U.S. image. Most of the parent company’s U.S. advertising and public relations is filtered through its Mazda North America subsidiary.
“To remain competitive, it is essential that we develop a unique strategy,” said Kaide. Part of that strategy will be to strengthen the company’s U.S. dealer network, which industry observers say has been one of the company’s weak links. Mazda faces stiff competition from Toyota and Honda, which entered the U.S. market earlier and established strong dealer networks nationwide.
Although the subsidiary is just 4 years old, its parent company has seen sales continue to climb here in recent years. The number of Mazda cars and trucks sold in the United States jumped more than 16% in 1984 compared to 1983. Of the 1.68 million Japanese vehicles sold in the United States last year, nearly 300,000 were Mazdas.
The parent company does not separate its U.S. and Japanese profits and revenues, but Mazda Motor Corp.'s net income climbed nearly 16% in 1984, to $5.84 billion from $5.57 billion in 1983.
Bowing to U.S. pressure to build a manufacturing facility here, Mazda plans to begin construction of an assembly plant near Detroit later this year. The plant, which will produce 240,000 vehicles at capacity, is expected to begin production in 1987.
Kaide said the Michigan plant is part of Mazda’s strategy to improve its U.S. image.
Besides image-building, Kaide said, the U.S. subsidiary is also responsible for product planning and technical assistance for Mazda’s U.S. service and parts departments. It also is responsible for supplying U.S.-built air conditioning units for Mazda vehicles sold in North America.