New CEO Named for Mitsubishi North America

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
new ceo named for mitsubishi north america

Fred Diaz, who once headed the Ram brand before Nissan tapped him to lead the company’s truck division, has been put in charge of Mitsubishi’s North American operations.

While I’d love to run a headline saying something to the effect of “Mitsu Raids Corporate Cupboard for a New Raider,” I think the chances of a full-sized, badge-engineered Diamond Star pickup are somewhere between nil and nada, no matter the background of the brand’s new CEO.

Diaz will take the reins from Ryujiro Kobashi, who will return to the mothership in Japan after overseeing the brand in this country for four years. Reportedly, Kobashi will assume a role in overseas sales in Tokyo.

Diaz joined Nissan in 2013 when the company poached him from Ram and installed him as its senior vice president for American sales and marketing. He was later asked to step up the automaker’s efforts in the light truck arena as Division Vice President and General Manager of North America Trucks & Light Commercial Vehicles at Nissan North America. His new appointment is effective April 1.

Becoming head of Mitsubishi on April Fool’s Day. Hmm…

This author has had the privilege of meeting Mr. Diaz at a truck event. An affable guy with a quick grin, the man knows his trucks. He oversaw the creation of Ram as a standalone brand in 2009 as well as the launch of the refreshed 2013 Ram 1500 during that model year. He started at Chrysler in 1989.

Commenting on the appointment, Chief Operating Officer Trevor Mann stated, “The United States is a strategic market for Mitsubishi Motors in our Drive for Growth plan. With his in-depth background and experience in North America, Fred has a strong ability to proactively engage with Mitsubishi Motors’ dealers and customers as we aim to expand our dealership network, enhance our brand, and drive sales growth.”

In October of last year, Mitsubishi announced a three-year plan titled “Drive for Growth” in which it aims to improve the company’s U.S. dealership network and grow sales by 30 percent to 130,000 units per year.

To put that in perspective, Mitsubishi’s U.S. deliveries have risen annually since 2012, including a gain last year that pushed the brand above 100,000 units for the first time since 2007. In 2002, at the height of Fast and Furious mania, the brand sold 345,111 machines. Dealerships in the Great White North contributed about 20,000 annual sales to Mitsubishi’s coffers every year since 2008.

For the 2018 model year, Mitsubishi has the Mirage and Mirage G4 to show customers who are shopping for a car. Those interested in crossovers will be pointed to either the seven-passenger Outlander, the five-passenger Outlander Sport, or the new Eclipse Cross. Both the i-MiEV and Lancer have vanished for 2018.

[Images: Mitsubishi Motors]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 01, 2018

    @Fred--I bought a 85 Mitsubishi Mighty Max used in 1987 with 30k miles. Mine had a 4 speed manual with no radio, no rear bumper but it had AC. I bought it at a Cadillac dealership in Houston which was using it to deliver auto parts because they could not sell it (the bed did not have a dent or scratch). I got it for $3,500 and added a rear bumper, bed liner, and stereo with a tape player. Great little truck I had it for over 14 years. My problem with Mitsubishi was getting parts for it that were not available at an auto parts store. A few times I got luck and got parts at a Dodge dealership since its twin was a Dodge D-50.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Mar 07, 2018

    I like the Eclipse Cross. It looks like a 1980s Italian show car outside and a Lexus CUV inside, and it's powered by a small-displacement turbo that should meet peoples' conflicting demands for torque and economy. I've only seen Canadian-market reviews so far, but they're very favorable, particularly regarding handling. If they can keep the price under control, they may have a winnah. I'm smitten with the Outlander PHEV. It fulfills my fantasy of a roomy AWD SUV that silently wafts through the city on waves of electric torque, then transforms into a range-anxiety-free dinosaur-burner on the highway. It's imperfect for sure -- high price, low electric range, low post-electric MPG -- yet it's better in all those respects than competitors costing 20 grand more. The Outlander Sport is cheap and butch-cute and adequately powered in all but base trim; it's a bit of a sleeper hit even in my area, almost an hour's drive from a Mitsubishi dealer. Mitsubishi's revival may be dependent on these right-sized CUVs...but that happens to be the big growth area in the market right now. They might just be okay.

  • Statikboy Those tires are the Wrong Size.
  • Mustangfast I had an 06 V6 and loved that car. 230k trouble free miles until I sold it. I remember they were criticized for being too small vs competitors but as a single guy it was the right size for me. I recall the 2.3 didn’t have a reputation for reliability, unlike the V6 and I4. I think it likely didn’t take off due to the manual-only spec, price tag, and power vs the V6 engine and the way it delivered that power. It was always fun to see the difference between these and normal ones, since these were made in Japan whereas all others were flat rock
  • VoGhost Earth is healing.
  • ToolGuy "Having our 4th baby and decided a camper van is a better use of our resources than my tuner."Seller is in the midst of some interesting life choices.Bonus: Here are the individuals responsible for doing the work on this vehicle.
  • MaintenanceCosts Previous owner playing engineer by randomly substituting a bunch of components, then finding out. No thanks.