friendly lives to society. These products are now integrated under the environmental systems sector, the second biggest sector in the Yazaki Group.
Overseas Business Development
Over the years, the automotive business evolved into a global exchange of knowledge, services and products. Yazaki began to meet the needs of the global market by investing in research, which enabled it to offer new technological solutions, often developed in-house.
In 1955, Yazaki established its first export division and began to grow its overseas operations. In 1962, the company established its first overseas factory in Thailand. As it has expanded into the global marketplace, Yazaki has always held “to be a good neighbor” as a guiding principle. In carrying out this principle, Yazaki has endeavored to manufacture products suited to the local economy and needed by the particular geographic area in which they operate. In 1966, the American Yazaki Corporation was formed in Chicago to cater to the North American automotive market. In 1972, American Yazaki Corporation began the production of components for supplying a major US automaker. The company went on to establish Yazaki Europe Limited in the United Kingdom in 1980 as the first European location, and in 1986, the first European production plant opened in Portugal.
The Second Generation Takes the Wheel
In August 1974, founder Sadami Yazaki died suddenly at the age of 64. His son, Yasuhiko Yazaki, became the second president of Yazaki at the age of 33.
Yasuhiko Yazaki was born in 1941. After studying at Goethe University in Frankfurt, he joined Yazaki Corporation in 1963. In 1967, he became a director and supported his father by playing a key leadership role in the growing Yazaki Corporation. In 1971, he was named executive vice president.
When he succeeded his father, Yasuhiko Yazaki became president of five companies – Yazaki Corporation; Yazaki Meter Co., Ltd.; Yazaki Parts Co., Ltd.; Yazaki Electric Wire Co., Ltd. and Yazaki Resources Co., Ltd. He had not yet developed the charisma his father had, and the management and governance of these five companies was an enormous challenge for the young president. Additionally, in the wake of the 1973 oil shock, Yazaki was faced with increasing material costs, unfavorable currency exchange rates, and a global economy that was in a deep depression. The young president, however, was not afraid of bold moves. To overcome the crisis facing Yazaki, he sold off ¥20 billion in assets including the corporate headquarters. And he was very quick to initiate appropriate countermeasures for turning Yazaki around. Under the young president’s leadership, Yazaki was rescued from its crisis.
Yasuhiko Yazaki launched two strategic initiatives, which resulted in big successes for the company. First, he grew Yazaki’s overseas operations more aggressively. As a result, overseas sales grew from ¥4,546,778,000 in 1974 to ¥116,554,058,000 in 1990. During the same period, overseas employees grew from 2,922 to 33,703. His second initiative was to invest additional corporate resources into growing the solar-powered