Familiar Face Returns As Mitsubishi's North American Boss

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

One day, perhaps even one day this year ( …or next!), Mitsubishi will have a new model to show off to Americans, and when that time comes there’ll be a new top boss performing the unveiling.

Fred Diaz is out as CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, the automaker announced Thursday, replaced by someone who knows the job fairly well. He’s had it before.

Yoichi Yokozawa (on the left in the above photo) was named president and CEO of MMNA in Diaz’s absence, but he’ll have to wait until “travel restrictions are removed” in order to formally occupy the role, Mitsubishi said. In the meantime, Chief Operating Officer Mark Chaffin steps into the interim CEO role, effective immediately.

The automaker did not waste digital ink outlining the nature of Diaz’s departure. The former top boss accepted the role in April of 2018.

For Yokozawa, a 22-year company veteran, it’s something of a homecoming. Yokozawa previously held the position of MMNA CEO from 2011 to 2014. Those were lean times for the automaker in America — after bottoming out during the recession, Mitsu’s U.S. volume remained in the five-figure category until 2016, when it finally crested the 100,000 mark.

The automaker’s annual U.S. tally of 121,046 vehicles sold in 2019 was its best showing since 2007, though a far cry from the 300,000-plus vehicles offloaded each year from 2000 to 2002. Mitsu’s inclusion in the still-rocky Renault-Nissan alliance has afforded the automaker a future, however, via access to the platforms and technology it’ll need to stay competitive in a decade of flux.

“Yoichi is an experienced team player, and his global background and previous North American experience will serve him well as he leads the MMNA organization forward,” said Guillaume Cartier, Mitsubishi Motors’ senior vice president responsible for Global Marketing and Sales.

“We are grateful to Fred for his accomplishments and commitment to Mitsubishi Motors. He steered the company to sales successes in a challenging U.S. market, built a strong leadership team, strengthened the U.S. dealer partner network, and laid the foundation for the future of a successful Mitsubishi Motors in the United States.”

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 27, 2020

    Mitsubishi needs to come out with a true compact pickup even if it shares a platform with one of their crossovers. Make it small, not too tall, basic, and affordable. How about pricing it just below 19k and make it available in a few basic colors like white, black, and silver with few options and offer a gray interior instead of black. Make it 2 wheel drive and have a basic 3 or 4 cylinder with a manual transmission and optional 4 or 5 speed auto. Don't offer few electronic nannies except what is required by law and offer a basic radio with Smart Phone and I-Phone connectivity. At the very least offer a extended cab with a rear seat delete, no carpet. Keep it simple and even if is assembled in Mexico to keep the cost low. Call it the Mini Max if they don't want to use the Mighty Max name. Many delivery services, service industries, and auto parts delivery would buy an inexpensive and small pickup.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 27, 2020

    I mean offer few if any electronic nannies except what is required by law.

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.