JAPANESE auto giant Mitsubishi—the Philippines’ second leading automotive company—has renewed its long-term “love ___affair” with the market, as incoming president and chief executive officer Takeshi Hara declared during the July 8 turnover ceremony that he aims to develop and execute programs that revolve around customer experience.
“My colleagues and I will do our best to bring the Mitsubishi Motors brand closer to the heart of Filipinos. Similar to our products that are designed to cater to various lifestyles and life stages, we will use each moment as an inspiration to provide more value to our offerings and further improve our service. We will forge brand partnerships that will align us better with Filipino interests and considerations. We will strengthen brand love by supporting all things that matter to our valued customers,” said Hara.
He added: “My goal is to realize ‘Customer Oriented Operation’ through customer satisfaction, customer journey, and how to increase our loyal customers. That is the key and only key for future success. My motto is ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ I would like to create new ways that are appealing to our valued customers.”
Hara joined Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) in 1993, subsequently gaining experience in plant operation, corporate planning, sales and after sales for MMC in Japan, and in other countries including Thailand. Prior to his MMPC post, he was with Mitsubishi Motors Sales Caribbean Inc, MMC’s subsidiary and distributor in Puerto Rico, as president and CEO from 2019 to 2021. He joined MMPC last April as executive vice president and assistant to the president and CEO.
Hara admitted that Mutsuhiro Oshikiri’s tenure as MMPC president and CEO for four years would be a “tough act to follow”, noting that the immediate past president “had accomplished so much during his term.”
Oshikiri’s leadership witnessed key milestones, including the inauguration of the MMPC Santa Rosa Stamping plant in 2016, the start of Mirage G4’s local production in 2017, reaching the 1,000,000-unit sales milestone in 2019, as well as the 700,000th local production in 2019, 200,000-unit sales milestone of the iconic L300, highest sales performance in a month (6,822 in March 2017), and launches of new and bestselling models the Xpander in 2017 (which MMPC boasts became the leading small MPV), the Strada in 2018, the L300 Euro 4 in 2019, the Montero Sport in 2019, the Xpander Cross in 2020, the Strada Athlete in 2020, and the Outlander PHeV in 2020.
“Rest assured that I am as committed as Oshikiri-san to not just promote the Mitsubishi Motors brand but also to present the wonderful car life with Mitsubishi Motors for our Filipino customers,” Hara stressed.
During the turnover, Oshikiri paid tribute to the people of MMPC: “I would like to express my great appreciation for the support that you have shown the brand during my term. It has been an honor to have served the Philippine market and I am very blessed to have worked with amazing people that have shown great passion and dedication towards Mitsubishi Motors.
“I consider myself lucky to have been part of a strong organization that demonstrated admirable resiliency during the most trying times. I am confident that I am leaving MMPC to good people that will uphold its values and will serve the brand well.”
Oshikiri then expressed confidence in Hara’s leadership: “Mr. Takeshi Hara is a well-seasoned Mitsubishi Motors executive who has extensive experience in sales, marketing, aftersales and business operations. I have no doubt that he will propel MMPC to new heights.”
Hara recognized the value of a strong brand presence in the Philippine market. “The Philippines is a very important market to Mitsubishi Motors, as our brand is very fortunate to receive such strong support from Filipinos. For decades, MMPC has maintained a strong number 2 position in the automotive industry thanks to our loyal customers, strong dealer partners, and dedicated employees.
“The past year and a half has been a very difficult time for all of us due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted the economy and significantly changed our lives. It is an event that could have easily broken our spirit by its sheer impact. However, upon arriving in your beautiful country, I immediately felt the strong energy and passion radiating from the Mitsubishi Motors team, MMPC dealers and all business partners. It is inspiring to see such strong and resilient culture. This has made me feel more blessed and honored to be appointed here and serve the Filipino market,” Hara assessed.
Meanwhile, MMPC partners and dealers wished Oshikiri the best in his next endeavours.
William Chiongbian, director of Fast Autoworld Philippines Corp, said: “We would like to wish Oshikiri-san Godspeed on his return to Japan for his well-deserved retirement. When Oshikiri-san was still new to the Philippines, we played golf together, and one of our vehicles was on display at that time. What really surprised me was that he knew all the specs of the vehicle from the front all the way to the back, and he was explaining to our golf mates what the specialty was of that vehicle—the Xpander. So, you could see that he was very passionate about the products that we are selling.”
Gilbert Dee Jr, president of Union Motor Corp/Peak Motors Philippines Inc, said: “Oshikiri-san, the first time we played golf together, you told me to relax and not talk about business. Once the game started, business and targets were all you discussed with me. Your dedication and passion at work has allowed MMPC to maintain 16-percent market share and a strong number 2 position in our automotive industry. I wish you the best of luck, and at the same time I welcome Hara-san to the Philippines. We will work closely with you to achieve your goals.”
Carlo Ching, vice president for marketing, parts and services of Citimotors Inc, said: “It has been four years. Time flies so fast. My fond memories of you, well, for one, I have to give you credit, you were able to simplify a lot of the processes of our operations. And, in spite of the pandemic, you were able to maintain our number 2 position in the auto industry. What I will miss most would be your leadership, support, as well as your guidance.”