By on March 26, 2020

Mitsubishi Motors

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]

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19 Comments on “Familiar Face Returns As Mitsubishi’s North American Boss...”


  • avatar
    cprescott

    Wow. So during the time the North American operation was going down the tubes, the genius people from Japan want him back? You can’t make this up. The people in power should be checked for Mad Cow.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    It looks like the sales team at Al’s Quality Used Car Emporium.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    A small, inexpensive pickup would be great, Yoichi.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Good! Maybe he’ll bring it back to glory. The proud great company which once brought us the Starion ESI-r, 3000GT VR4, Eclipse GSX, and Lancer Evo has devolved into lame CUVs for subprime buyers and that God awful Mirage. It’s become a disgrace!

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      None of those “glory” sedans would sell today.

      Surprisingly, it’s the lowly Mirage that has turned Mitsubishi’s US fortunes around. Low price and the 10/100 warranty sells product, which is the formula H/K used starting in 1999/2000.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Honestly, a hot Mirage, done right of course, would be a hoot.

        • 0 avatar
          B-BodyBuick84

          Take the slightly longer Mirage G4 sedan platform and turn it into a 2 door shooting brake hatch. Turbo the 1.2 litre 3 banger and give it the 6 speed manual from the old Nissan Sentra Nismo.
          Bam! One hot hatch of the Mitsubishi variety ready to go. If they could fit the AWC or S-AWC AWD system underneath then even better.

          Call it the Mitsubishi Cordia GSR Turbo, and Cordia GSR Turbo 4WD. It’s a great throwback to the 80’s versions, and if priced cheaply enough (I.E, under $20,000) then they’ll sell like hotcakes slathered in cocaine-infused maple syrup.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Speaking of sedans, how could I have forgotten the Galant VR4? That was a dandy!

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Mitsubishi has resources in Renault and Nissan that could fill it’s lineup.

    Halo – Renault Alpine rebadged as Mitsubishi Starion

    Sedan – Renault Samsung SM6 rebadged as Mitsubishi Galant

    Electric Car- Renault Samsung SM3

    Entry Level – eliminate the Mirage and replace with Dacia Duster and Dacia Logan

    Pickup – sell the Triton pickup here. Keep it simple with 2WD Club Cab and 4WD Double Cab. Assemble in Mexico from Complete Knockdown Kit.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

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

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