American Honda names Noriya Kaihara as new CEO

LOS ANGELES — American Honda Motor Co. CEO Shinji Aoyama will leave his post as head of U.S. and North American operations on Oct. 1 to dedicate himself to a new role as full-time global officer in charge of electrification, Honda said late Wednesday.

Aoyama will be replaced in North America by Noriya Kaihara, who is currently chief officer for customer operations and officer of risk management at Honda Motor Co. Kaihara is also a managing executive officer.

Aoyama has been serving as the global electrification officer since July 1 from North America, the company said. The electrification post was created in May as Honda begins a steady shift away from internal combustion engines.

“In his new dedicated role, Aoyama will lead the establishment and implementation of electrification strategies which leverage the unique strength of Honda as a company including motorcycle, automobile, power equipment and other businesses,” Honda said.

Aoyama joined American Honda in April 2018 as senior executive vice president and COO of U.S. and North American operations. In November 2018, he became president and CEO.

Kaihara has spent much of his career in after-sales service in Japan and North America, Honda said.

“He spent two years at Honda Canada, from April 2002 to April 2004, then joined American Honda in the service area from 2004 until April 2008,” the company said. “Since returning to Honda Motor, he has held a variety of positions in motorcycle and automobile business.”

Kaihara has also played a key role in Honda’s collaboration with General Motors, “which positions him to help lead Honda’s pursuit of electrification in North America,” Honda said.

GM is developing two EVs for Honda in North America that are scheduled to go on sale in 2024. Both are battery-electric crossovers, one for Honda and one for Acura.

Meanwhile, American Honda’s U.S. sales have surged 35 percent this year to 969,052 vehicles through July.

Editor’s note: Honda made the announcement late Wednesday. An earlier version of this story misstated the timing of the announcement.

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