Photo of Fred Diaz with the Eclipse Cross courtesy of Mitsubishi.

Photo of Fred Diaz with the Eclipse Cross courtesy of Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has appointed Fred Diaz to succeed Ryujiro Kobashi as president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. (MMNA).

Diaz, who brings 29 years of sales, marketing, and customer relations experience to the position, previously served in Nissan’s commercial truck division. He was also previously the CEO of Fiat Chrysler's Ram Truck unit.

Kobashi, officials said, is returning to Mitsubishi Motors’ headquarters to assume a new role in overseas sales in Tokyo after spending four years as the head of MMNA.

“The United States is a strategic market for Mitsubishi Motors in our Drive for Growth plan,” said Trevor Mann, MMNA's COO. “With his in-depth background and experience in North America, Fred has a strong ability to proactively engage with Mitsubishi Motors' dealers and customers as we aim to expand our dealership network, enhance our brand, and drive sales growth."

The announcement follows MMNA surpassing its 100,000 sales milestone in 2017, making the automaker the fastest growing non-luxury brand in the United States. Under Kobashi's leadership, MMNA was able to rebuild Mitsubishi Motors' sales and launch the Eclipse Cross CUV as well as other important models in North America.

In October, Mitsubishi Motors announced its three-year Drive for Growth plan, which aims to improve the company's U.S. dealership network and grow sales by 30% to 130,000 units per year.