After Osamu Suzuki Retiring as Chairman Suzuki Faces “Challenges”

The oldest person in the automobile industry leaves the line.

On February 24, Suzuki’s chairman Osamu Suzuki (91) announced that he would retire after the general meeting of shareholders in June and serve as a consultant. In the future, President Toshihiro Suzuki (62), who is also the eldest son of the chairman, will take charge of management as the company’s top in both name and reality.

Chairman Osamu became the fourth president of the founding family at the age of 48 in 1978. After that, he served as the real top for 43 years while changing the position such as chairman, president, chairman and president, and raised Suzuki to a company with annual sales of 3 trillion yen with strong top-down management.

The history of domestic mini vehicles cannot be told without Osamu  Suzuki in the latter half of the 1970s, when demand suddenly cooled due to the introduction of exhaust gas regulations and the oil crisis, Suzuki drastically cut costs and released the “Alto” for 470,000 yen, which surprised the world. After that, he continued to devise new vehicle shapes such as the “Wagon R”, which made it easier to get in by raising the vehicle height, and greatly contributed to the development of the mini vehicle market.

Build a big ground in India
Furthermore, the Indian business that grew up as Suzuki‘s main pillar is also due Osamu Suzuki‘s foresight. In the early 1980s, the Indian government negotiated with Japanese automobile manufacturers in search of a joint venture partner of a state-owned enterprise (Maruti Suzuki) in order to foster the automobile industry in its own country. Suzuki was selected as a joint venture partner with enthusiasm by  Osamu Suzuki, who was the president at the time, while the major companies had not yet shown interest in India.

With the economic growth of India, the production of small cars at the local joint venture is increasing. In 2002 Suzuki took over the majority of the shares and made it a subsidiary, and in 2006 it was completely privatized. Since then, the market size of new car sales in India has grown to the fifth largest in the world as a country, and has become a major pillar that accounts for about half of Suzuki’s worldwide sales.

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So far, Chairman Osamu Suzuki has tried to take over the top management many times, but he was hit by the sudden death and illness of the person he was thinking of as his successor, and it was difficult to change generations. He remained chairman and remained the de facto leader even after he handed over the position of president to his eldest son, Toshihiro, in 2015. Osamu Suzuki retired in June, andnToshihiro Suzuki took over the management  completely.

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