Acura organizes new business division to confront falling sedan salesWed, 26 Feb 2014 10:00:00 EST
Honda and Acura North America have announced a major restructuring of operations in hopes of turning around Acura's flagging business. For 2013, sales for Acura's sedans dropped 10.4 percent, while its CUV sales grew by 21 percent. The newly formed Acura Business Planning Office will attempt to right the ship.
As part of the restructuring, Acura is promoting Erik Berkman from President of Honda R&D Americas to lead a new division called the Acura Business Planning Office. Berkman has been with Honda since 1982 and led development of the 2006 Accord. He was also the first US engineer to head North American research and development and has been head of Honda Performance Development since 2008. "Erik's appointment to the new Acura Business Planning Office is a clear indication of the high priority we place on Acura," said Honda spokesperson Jeffrey Smith to Automotive News.
American Honda Motor President and CEO Tetsuo Iwamura is also going to be working to improve the business. He has been elected chairman of American Honda's board, and has simultaneously taken the new position of Corporate Brand Officer to improve the management of the company's brands.
Acura has already made moves to change its strategy. The new TLX sedan will be on sale by the end of the year and will consolidate the TSX and TL into a single model. The North American restructuring comes just days after Honda announced that Hideko Kunii would become the first woman to join the company's board of directors. Scroll down for the press release with the full list of job changes.
Honda Announces Executive Changes at its North American Operations
02/24/2014 - MARYSVILLE, OH
Honda today announced changes in its North American executive ranks, effective April 1, 2014, as part of a continued strategy to strengthen its leadership within the region and increase the role played by Honda's North American sales, manufacturing and R&D operations within Honda's global business.
The following executive changes, among others, are effective April 1, 2014:
Takuji Yamada will become president of Honda North America, Inc. (HNA), COO of North American Regional Operations and president & CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM). He is currently executive vice president of AHM. Yamada will remain as a managing officer of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC).
Tetsuo Iwamura will remain as executive vice president, executive officer and representative director of HMC, and become chairman of AHM. He will also assume the newly created position of Corporate Brand Officer for HMC to strengthen the management of all corporate brands. He currently serves as president of HNA, COO of North American Regional Operations and president & CEO of AHM.
Hidenobu Iwata will remain as senior managing officer of HMC until he retires in June 2014. He currently serves as president & CEO of both Honda North America Services, LLC (HNAS) and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (HAM).
Tomomi Kosaka will become president & CEO of HAM and executive vice president of HNA. He also will become an operating officer of HMC. He is currently a senior vice president of HAM.
Frank Paluch will become president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA), and an operating officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. He is currently senior vice president of HNAS.
Erik Berkman will become an executive vice president of HNA and division manager of the new Acura Business Planning Office. He is currently president of HRA, and an operating officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Chitoshi Yokota will become the senior executive vice president and Automobile Business Managing Officer of HNA, and remain as a managing officer of HMC. Yokota is currently serving concurrently as executive vice president of HAM and HNAS.
Rick Schostek will become executive vice president of HNA responsible for planning, support and governance. He is currently serving concurrently as a senior vice president of HNA and HNAS.
Jon Minto will become a senior vice president of HNA with responsibility for engineering planning. He is currently president of Honda Engineering North America, Inc. (EGA), and an operating officer of Honda Engineering Co., Ltd.
Tom Shoupe will become executive vice president and COO of HAM. He is currently president of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC (HMA).
Jeff Tomko will become president of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC (HMA). He is currently senior vice president at HMA.
John Spoltman will become president of EGA. He is currently the plant manager of the Anna Engine Plant at HAM.
Isamu Yamaki will become chairman of Honda de Mexico S.A.de C.V. (HDM). He currently serves as president of HDM.
Hiroshi Shimizu will become president of HDM. He currently serves as vice president of HDM.
In conjunction with these executive appointments, Honda will strengthen its leadership role for the development of business strategy in North America. Accordingly, HNA will merge with HNAS, a shared-services company established in 2013. The newly configured HNA is based in Marysville, Ohio, and also has offices in Torrance, Calif., Detroit, Mich., New York, N.Y. and Washington, D.C.
Honda began automobile production in the U.S. in 1982. It now operates 15 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, and power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines. This includes eight Honda auto plants in the North American region that have the capacity to produce 1.92 million automobiles each year, using domestic and globally sourced parts.
Honda also operates major research and development centers in the U.S. that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products produced in North America.
By Chris Bruce
See also: Honda pulling plug on slow-selling Insight hybrid, 2015 Honda Fit production gets underway in Mexico, Lexus gets top brand marks from Consumer Reports; Ford, Jeep hit hard.