James Muir, aged 42, has been appointed as managing director of Mazda Motors UK, the Japanese manufacturer's new wholly-owned subsidiary. The new company takes over full responsibility for Mazda in the UK with effect from 1 August.
Mr Muir joins Mazda from Ford, where he gained extensive sales and marketing experience during the last 15 years. He will introduce members of his new management team and announce his growth strategies for the brand to Mazda's UK dealer network at a national conference in Birmingham on 2 August.
"This is a fascinating opportunity for me, my team and our dealer network, because the Mazda brand has enormous potential in the UK," he said. "We will be taking numerous significant steps in the coming weeks and months to revitalise the business and prepare for the arrival of a range of exciting products that will build Mazda into a strong player in the UK market during the next two or three years."
Mazda's decision to take over responsibility for its brand in the UK market is in line with a strategy that also saw it take over distribution in France earlier this year. Mazda Motor Europe already operated wholly-owned subsidiaries in Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy and has stated that it aims to control 70% of its European sales by the end of 2001.
Mazda Motors UK will move into its new headquarters near Dartford, Kent, in October. Until then, the company will operate from the Tunbridge Wells offices of former distributor, MCL Group.