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Mitsubishi Motors PHL welcomes new chief

Mr. Hara turns over reins to Mr. Imaeda

By Joyce Reyes-Aguila

MITSUBISHI MOTORS Philippines Corp. (MMPC) formally announced the appointment of Ritsu Imaeda as president and chief executive officer (CEO) beginning May 1. The leadership change concludes the three-year term of current chief Takeshi Hara.

The market share of MMPC has trended upward since 2021 and reached 18.2% in 2023 under Mr. Hara. In the same year, the company posted its all-time highest retail sales record when it sold 7,626 units in September last year.

“I came to the Philippines as a man on a mission — to ensure that MMPC continues its legacy of sustainability, (making) significant contributions to society, and of course, delivering top-notch vehicles and services,” Mr. Hara told guests during the turnover ceremony held last week at Shangri-La The Fort. “When I arrived here, I made sure to observe the philosophy of three Mitsubishi principles that are still deeply engraved in the Mitsubishi group today: Shoki hoko (corporate responsibility to society), shoji komei (integrity and fairness), and ritsugyo boeki (global understanding through business).”

Mr. Hara, who has been with MMPC since 1993, recalled the “unexpected challenges” the company faced during his term due to the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic crisis. “We navigated new roads, the new normal. We (launched) new models, such as the Xpander and the all-new Triton, established new dealerships, (saw an) increase in market share. And little by little, (we) regained the trust of our customers,” the executive said of the company’s accomplishments.

“I am confident that MMPC will continuously maintain the respect of the Philippine society as a manufacturer of fair and excellent products. We are always thinking of how to make our customer happier and how to contribute to the society, the nation we love,” he continued. “I am happy and proud that we are able to sell 1.2 million vehicles, giving mobility solutions to Filipinos. We also locally produced 800,000 units. (In doing so), we are able to provide employment and technology.

“We promoted carbon neutrality to protect the environment and for greener future. To be honest, as the one in the driver’s seat, this job was not easy for me. Yet through it all, I made sure that everyone knew the ultimate destination — our main goal, our special program for the Philippines: Life Made Better. These three words became our driving force — a simple yet powerful reminder that many lives depend on us: our valued customers, our trusted business partners, and our dedicated employees, and society,” Mr. Hara added.

The outgoing executive expressed his gratitude to the MMPC group and business partners who, he said, share a common vision. “I am proud to say that I fulfilled my mission, but I owe my success to your invaluable assistance and contribution. I’d like to express my gratitude for the trust, support, and dedication you have provided to the company and me. I am excited to witness the continued success of MMPC and the Philippines as a whole,” he said. Mr. Hara turned over a symbolic key fob to Mr. Imaeda and requested employees and partners to extend the same support that he received to his successor.

Meanwhile, in a video message, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President, CEO, and Representative Executive Officer Takao Kato recognized Mr. Hara for the “remarkable vision and leadership” he demonstrated that “guided MMPC through the challenges posted by the COVID-19 pandemic and steering (the company) toward record-breaking sales in FY23.” He stressed, “Under his guidance, MMPC expanded our sales network to 84 locations, providing countless individuals with the exceptional Mitsubishi variant experience.”

Mr. Imaeda joined Mitsubishi Motors in 2021 and has had international stints in Europe, Russia, and Puerto Rico. “I have been handed over a heavy task from my predecessor,” he told the attendees of the turnover ceremony. “For Mitsubishi Motors, the Philippines is one of the most important markets that we have focused on, with expectations of growth. I’m surprised at how our products and services are well-accepted in the Philippines. Even though I have been told of this before, it was kind of surprising seeing it with my own eyes.

“I have confidence in the quality of our products and services. I have nothing but appreciation for our customers. I will definitely do my best to further lift up our presence in the Philippines by encouraging not only our Mitsubishi team but also the economy of the Philippines that has huge potential, seeing the energy it contains.”

Mr. Imaeda announced that aside from the launch of the brand-new model of the Mitsubishi Xforce in June 2024, MMPC is “also expecting to introduce three additional models” after the refreshed subcompact SUV is offered to the market.