Yasumori Ihara has become the president of Aisin Seiki, coming from a former vice president position at the world’s largest automaker. The supplier is also Toyota’s second biggest and the naming has, naturally, “political” implications.
The former Toyota vice president has started off by asking the supplier he now runs to step up its efforts in order to safeguard its position with the largest Japanese company or risk being demoted to a lower-rank status. Yasumori Ihara was previously in charge of Toyota’s emerging markets operations before coming home to become Aisin Seiki Co.’s president in June, and he now plans to deliver by the year’s end a new series of strategies to better reorganize the company and its 180 subsidiaries, which build anything from car seats, transmissions, brakes to body parts. Toyota and the rest of Japanese carmakers have recently increased their pressure on their home suppliers to increase competiveness and avoid complacency – the current “keiretsu” business system made some of them too “lazy” as the companies formed interlocking business relationships through cross-shareholdings.
But Japan’s auto market has started to decay and the automakers need to expand even more overseas, so they formed relations with suppliers in those regions and are asking their home parts manufacturers to join them on the quest. Toyota President Akio Toyoda “gave me only one piece of advice and that is to make it more competitive. It’s good for both Toyota and Aisin. If Aisin gets more competitive, we can sell more products to other automakers as well and survive,” commented Ihara, 63, during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Kariya city, Japan.