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US:Mazda gives Davis control of North America product, quality

Mazda gives Davis control of North America product, quality

By Dale Jewett
Automotive News

Mazda North American Operations has made executive Robert Davis its product czar, giving him responsibility for future products and quality.

Davis, who had been in charge of product development and marketing, has been promoted to senior vice president of product development and quality, Mazda said Tuesday.

The move gives Davis control of research and development, manufacturing, product development and quality for the automaker in North America. Davis is an auto enthusiast who races cars as a hobby.

The change in Davis' duties, effective Jan. 1, is key as Mazda considers the North American market its biggest opportunity for sales growth over the next several years.

"These changes give Robert Davis the authority and the right team to control two of our most important assets, product development and product quality," said Jim O'Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North America.

Improving the initial quality of Mazda vehicles is a top corporate goal for the automaker, a spokesman said.

Mazda was ranked No. 33 out of 37 nameplates in the 2004 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. Mazda was scored with 157 problems per 100 vehicles, compared to an industry average of 119 problems per 100 vehicles.

As part of the realignment, Mazda created two new vice president positions. Both will report to Davis:

Shiro Yoshioka will be vice president of research and development. Yoshioka has been working at Mazda Motor Corp. in Japan.

A vice president of quality will be named later.

Other changes are:

Shinji Mazukane was promoted to chief financial officer and vice president, from assistant CFO and vice president.

Mike Makashima was promoted to director of strategic planning, from project leader of Mexico study team.

A senior vice president of sales and marketing will be named later.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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