Orange County Business Journal

Mitsubishi Motors Names Chairman

Kari Hamanaka Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The parent of Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. is bringing one of its executives from Japan to oversee North American operations.

Gayu Uesugi is charged with “leadership in developing a product plan and growth strategy for the U.S. market” as the company’s North American chairman, according to Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President Osamu Masuko.

The last time Mitsubishi Motors North America had a chairman was in 2007.

Current Mitsubishi Motors North America Chief Executive Yoichi Yokozawa will report to Uesugi.

Uesugi’s appointment took effect Nov. 1, and he is expected to relocate to the company’s Cypress office, a spokesperson said.

Uesugi was most recently executive vice president and head officer of the Headquarters Product Projects & Strategy Group in Japan, and he retains that title.

He has been with Mitsubishi for 35 years, working in various engineering, new product projects and strategic product leadership positions.

Uesugi takes on the role following the company’s recent decision in July to move production of its Outlander Sport crossover utility vehicle from Japan to Normal, Ill., where it already makes several other models.

Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales were down 9.1% to 3,981 vehicles in October, and off 30% for the year, at 50,103 vehicles, according to Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based Autodata Corp.’s online industry researcher Motor Intelligence. The company said its sales continue to be affected by its August 2011 halt in production of the Eclipse coupe, Eclipse Spyder convertible and Endeavor crossover. Sales for October were up 7% excluding the discontinued models.