ISUZU Ute Australia will have a new managing director from next month with Hiro Kuramoto replacing incumbent IUA managing director and CEO Yasu Takeuchi.
Takeuchi has been in the role since 2011 and will return to Japan to take up a new position in Isuzu Ute Australia’s parent company, the Mitsubishi Corporation.
Kuramoto takes up the post with more than 22 years in senior positions within the Isuzu family in Thailand and China, including president of both Auto Technic (Thailand) Co., Ltd, and the Tri Petch Isuzu Service Co., Ltd, the after sales arm of the world’s largest Isuzu distributor in Thailand.
“Yasu and the team at IUA have put me in the privileged position to be joining a company with a great history of achievement and I look forward to the exciting challenge of leading IUA to the next level of its prosperity – focusing not only on sustainable sales growth but also increasing our customer satisfaction and retention,” Kuramoto said.
According to Takeuchi, his successor has the pedigree to continue to build on the legacy of the booming brand – which recently reached a milestone 100,000 units in Australia and double digit growth during his tenure.
“Hiro brings vast experience from leadership roles in one of the world’s most competitive automotive markets and I am delighted that I am handing the reins to someone with that capability and perspective to lead IUA’s future success,” he said.
“During my six years at IUA the company has experienced phenomenal growth of which I am extremely proud. Our recent milestone of 100,000 accumulated sales is a testament to the great people behind our brand both here at IUA and in our dealerships, and the unwavering trust our customers have in our products – and with our new D-MAX and MU-X tracking well – I expect our double-digit growth to continue.”
VFACTS figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show 8,537 sales to the end of May, with MU-X accounting for 2,581 of them.
While MU-X is trailing 2016’s figure by 202 units and D-Max 4×2 is down by 371, the D-Max 4×4 model remains steady with a 17 unit increase.
Although the brand’s overall figure is 556 units down on the same time last year, IUA is confident higher stock levels will balance out the poor start to the year to claw back the 6.1 per cent deficit.
Last year, Isuzu Ute sold 23,377 cars across its two model range and are targeting a total of 25,715 in 2017 to meet the double-digit growth year-on-year. Just 17,178 to go over the remaining seven months.