But he'll continue to work with the company as an adviser.
Suzuki may not be offered in the US any longer, but as Japan's fourth-largest automaker and with close ties to Toyota, we could someday see the brand return to our shores. We certainly hope the company returns and brings its highly sought-after Jimny along too. The brand has always cared for its customers and some of its cars are true treasures. A lot of the company's innovation and success can be attributed to its now ex-chairman, Osamu Suzuki. He's been at the company for over forty years, but now he's finally decided to step down from the role of chairman, a position he has held since the turn of the millennium.
Suzuki Motors was founded by Suzuki's wife's grandfather and the reins will remain in the hands of the family, with Osamu's son Toshihiro Suzuki now taking over as chairman. He already holds the roles of president and CEO. Osamu joined the company back in 1958 and became president 20 years later. His business acumen helped the brand break into the Indian market in 1983, and if his ability to run things was ever in question, take a look at this. Today, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, which Suzuki Motors holds a majority stake in, sells half of all the cars in India.
Osamu's time in charge hasn't been perfect though. In 2016, he stepped down as CEO in order to take responsibility for the company's incorrect testing methods for calculating vehicle mileage, although he retained the title of chairman. He's clearly a valuable member of the company but says he decided to step down last year (Suzuki Motor's centenary year) in line with a new management plan that aims to reduce Suzuki's emissions. Suzuki is investing $9.45 billion in mostly electrification over the next five years.
But in true Japanese fashion, Osamu will still be hard at work. "I will neither run away nor hide," he said, and will "remain active" as an adviser. This follows regular past quotes that showed his desire to be a "lifelong non-retiree". But will the new leadership lead to the brand returning to America? Well, if the company could bring out its own version of the Toyota Supra, we'd be pretty happy to try it out. Realistically, Suzuki will continue to focus on developing markets, but as the brand shifts towards electrification, there's a good chance that more vehicles suitable for worldwide sale will be developed.