American Suzuki consolidates, names new president

BREA, Calif. – American Suzuki Motor Corp., will consolidate its independent business units - Automotive, Motorcycle/ATV and Marine, along with Corporate Operations - under a new president, Kinji Saito, the company reported in a release yesterday.

All the changes are focused on internal restructuring and “do not affect the separate dealer bodies that support each of the company's product divisions,” Suzuki said.

Saito, who most recently served as deputy executive general manager, Global Marketing at Suzuki Motor Corp., in Japan, will oversee all of the operations, sales and marketing activities of American Suzuki, according to the release.

Rick Suzuki, who has served as chairman of American Suzuki, will become its board advisor. Mark Harano, currently president of the Automotive Operations; Masaaki Kato, president of the Motorcycle, ATV and Marine Operations, and Motoo Murakami, president of Corporate Operations, will now become executive vice presidents of the consolidated company and continue to oversee their respective operations.

"American Suzuki believes it is very important to make changes and respond to the evolving needs of American consumers," said Saito. "It is ideal for all of our divisions to work more closely together, plan together and communicate together as a single company, rather than as separate business units.

“This reorganization reflects our strong commitment to the United States marketplace, and we are very optimistic about the many opportunities that our new corporate structure will provide in promoting collaboration, leveraging our innovative brand spirit across all products, supporting our dealers and continually improving Suzuki's entire product lineup in the United States."

In 1999, Saito was named Suzuki's representative to India, and in 2002 became director, Marketing & Sales of Maruti Suzuki India. During his tenure, Suzuki was India's leading and most dominant automotive company, with a passenger car market share that today exceeds 50 percent, the company said. American Suzuki is looking toward this strong new leader to navigate the company to success in these tough U.S. economic situations.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to help lead Suzuki's efforts in the United States," said Saito. "American buying habits are changing and Suzuki is very well positioned for success in the U.S. thanks to our diversity of outstanding products, including many which we plan to launch very soon. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues and fellow employees in continuing to make Suzuki a great success in the United States."

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