Subaru names new CEO







Subaru’s outgoing president and CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, left, and Tomomi Nakamura, in Tokyo in March. Photo credit: REUTERS

Subaru Corp. is replacing its CEO in the wake of more bad news of vehicle fuel data tampering in Japan.

Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, 64, will step down as CEO of the automaker this month and will be replaced by its recently named president, Tomomi Nakamura, 58, Subaru said Tuesday.

The move coincided with a separate company report that inspectors at Subaru’s Gunma and Yajima plants in Japan, where it assembles nameplates such as the Impreza, Outback and Forester, altered fuel economy and emissions data on 1,551 vehicles. Earlier, the company said 903 vehicles were affected.

The faulty inspections do not cover or affect exported vehicles.

Yoshinaga has been CEO since 2012.

In March, Subaru named Nakamura as its new global president to succeed Yoshinaga in that role. Nakamura was formerly CEO of the automaker’s U.S. unit, Subaru of America,

At that time, Yoshinaga was to keep the CEO title while stepping up as chairman.

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This year, Subaru admitted it faked fuel economy and emissions data on vehicles in Japan for at least five years.

The Japan Times reported Tuesday that Yoshinaga “will now become chairman without the right to represent the company and will focus on dealing with misconduct.”

The management changes are pending shareholders’ approval set for June 22.

The manipulation of fuel data began as recently as December 2012, but may have started as early as 2002, Subaru said. A lack of records that far back made it impossible to confirm.

In a statement Tuesday, Subaru said: “At present, we have not yet completed a full inquiry into the specific conduct, including the causes, background and motivations of such conduct.

“As a matter of urgency, a thorough re-investigation will be carried out by external specialists.

“Senior management will take the lead in carrying out this review, which will examine pre-existing policies as well as the overall structure of our organization and facilities,” the statement said. “This represents a key issue for the company. The company’s management and employees are united in their determination to come together and ensure that a situation of this kind will never occur again. Together, we will work to ensure that Subaru is reborn as a genuinely upright company that does the right thing in the right way.”

Subaru’s data-fudging admission is an outgrowth of a problem that surfaced last year.

In that case, Subaru said uncertified workers had for decades carried out tests of new cars for the domestic market. While investigating that case, the fuel economy problem cropped up.

The earlier inspection trouble led Subaru to recall 417,288 vehicles in Japan, including the Toyota 86 sporty coupe, which is manufactured by Subaru.

Subaru said in March that it would create an internal department charged with cultivating the culture of a “company doing the right thing in the right way.” The department will promote companywide efforts to improve customer trust, Subaru said. Additionally, it said it will establish an independent compliance office to strengthen the company’s efforts to follow laws and regulations.

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