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Source: Autocar

Mazda names new CEO ahead of electric car push

March 17th, 2023

Mazda MX30 2021 front quarter tracking The electric Mazda MX-30 has struggled to attract buyers since its 2020 launch Japanese firm nominates previous North American operations boss Masahiro Moro as its new chief

Mazda has announced Masahiro Moro as its next CEO as it prepares to spend $10.6 billion (8.7bn) on electrifying its line-up.

Moro headed up the company's North American operations between January 2016 and June 2021, when he took a position in global senior management.

Speaking in a news conference overnight, he detailed plans to expand the company's influence in the US - targeting 1000 sales per year from all 360 dealers in the region.

Moro also said he would begin to flesh out the company's strategy for 2025-2027. Under plans drawn up by current president and CEO Akira Marumoto, the firm will introduce a new hybrid system and new battery-electric models in that medium term. Mazda will then begin to electrify all of its cars from 2028.

Marumoto will step down as president and CEO in June to make way for Moro, pending board approval of his successor. Marumoto will continue as an adviser.

The change in leadership comes as Mazda grapples with the challenge of electrifying a car company that has historically leaned on a sporting image to sell its vehicles. As with Japanese compatriots Honda, Subaru and Toyota, it has been slow to respond to European demand for battery-electric cars.

Mazda launched its first EV - the MX-30 - in 2020, but the crossover's 124-mile range meansit has struggled to find buyers. Interest in the model was stoked by the recent announcement of a new range-extender variant with a petrol-powered Wankel rotary engine, but it has yet to be seen whether that will translateinto more sales.

The company appears to have settled on battery-electric cars being the answer in the long-term, having signed three agreements to develop and produce electric drive units, inverters and new motor technologies.

In addition to a deal with Nissan battery supplier Envision AESC, Mazda is also considering investing in its own battery production. It aims for 25-40% of its global sales to comprise electric vehicles by 2030, up from its previous target of 25%.

Read more:Mazda hints at electric MX-5 in revised EV strategy