All the changes are focused on internal restructuring and do not affect the separate dealer bodies that support each of the company’s product divisions, the Brea, Calif.-based company said.
Saito, who most recently served as deputy executive general manager of global marketing at Suzuki Motor Corp. in Japan, will oversee all operations, sales and marketing activities of American Suzuki.
Rick Suzuki, who has served as chairman of American Suzuki, will become its board advisor. The presidents of the Suzuki business units — Mark Harano, automotive; Masaaki Kato, motorcycle, ATV and marine; and Motoo Murakami, corporate operations — will now become executive vice presidents of the consolidated company and continue to oversee their respective operations.
“American Suzuki believes it is very important to make changes and respond to the evolving needs of American consumers,” Saito said in a statement. “It is ideal for all of our divisions to work more closely together, plan together and communicate together as a single company, rather than as separate business units.
“We are very optimistic about the many opportunities that our new corporate structure will provide in promoting collaboration, leveraging our innovative brand spirit across all products, supporting our dealers, and continually improving Suzuki’s entire product lineup in the United States,” Saito added.
Saito brings several years experience to the U.S. operations. In 1999, he was named Suzuki’s representative to India, and in 2002 became director of marketing and sales of Maruti Suzuki India.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to help lead Suzuki’s efforts in the United States,” Saito said. “American buying habits are changing and Suzuki is very well-positioned for success in the U.S. thanks to our diversity of outstanding products, including many which we plan to launch very soon.”