As the auto industry charges ahead toward a fully electric future, you can start to see clear leaders and laggards. Subaru, like its Japanese counterparts, is looking to play catch up. The automaker announced Friday it was appointing a new CEO to address the “profound transformation” to EVs in the auto industry, following a similar move from Toyota recently.
Subaru appoints new CEO to accelerate EV transition
Subaru appointed Atsushi Osaki as CEO and president Friday as the company overhauls its management structure to accelerate its EV efforts and remain competitive.
Osaki will take the reigns from Tomomi Nakamura, who has served as Subaru’s leader since June 2018 and navigated it through the pandemic.
Going forward, the company said, Subaru will “formulate a new management vision,” which will be finalized for the shareholder meeting in June. Osaki previously served as director and EVP of the manufacturing division.
Although Nakamura initiated Subaru’s EV efforts, introducing the automaker’s first electric vehicle, the Subaru Solterra, the rollout has been less than stellar, to put it nicely. Subaru sold a measly 919 EVs in the US last year, while many automakers have released their second, third, or fourth models.
Despite over a dozen announcements being made from foreign automakers to invest in EV production in the US since the new federal tax credit was introduced, Subura has made no such plans.
The reason, Subaru claims, is because they can’t compete with Mcdonald’s workers earning $20 to $25 an hour.
The management overhaul reflects a similar move from Toyota, which announced its long-time CEO Akio Toyoda was stepping down in January.
Toyota’s new CEO and former Lexus chief branding officer, Koji Sato, recently announced “that the time is right, we will accelerate BEV development” using a new approach – a stark contrast to his successor.
We’ll see if the new management changes will be enough to stimulate change at Subura or Toyota, for that matter.
The recent business overhauls from Japanese automakers all but confirm what we’ve seen for the past few years now, accelerating demand for EVs happening much quicker than most expected.
Those who failed to put in the early effort are looking to catch up with significant business strategy shakeups.