for the new president. His efforts were fruitful, and in 2002, GM honored Yazaki with its “2001 Supplier of the Year” award. In September 2005, Yazaki was selected by Ford as one its premium suppliers. The company also received DaimlerChrysler’s “2005 Global Supplier Award” in recognition of its supply performance and product quality.
Under Shinji Yazaki’s leadership, the company also revitalized its innovation capabilities. With the North American market demanding more and more hybrid vehicles, Yazaki bolstered its hybrid component sales in the region by launching the production of high-voltage automotive products for hybrids and other vehicles in January 2005. These products included inverters, battery packs, connection systems for motors and other related products.
Increasing the Speed of Globalization
Although Yazaki Corporation’s overseas sales had moved upwards in the last few years, the company was still over dependent on Japan for its sales. It had a close business relationship with Toyota, and in fiscal 2004-2005, the company derived more than 50% of its sales from Japan. Concerned that this overdependence might have a negative impact on the company’s growth if, for example, there were a downturn in domestic demand, Shinzi Yazaki intensified Yazaki’ overseas business growth.
In April 2005, Yazaki relocated some of its production from Japan to the US in order to meet the growing demand for hybrid vehicles in North America. In September 2005, Yazaki Europe planned to build a facility in Bulgaria for the manufacture of automotive electrical equipment. In December 2005, Yazaki announced its plans to acquire a 25% stake in Hesto Harnesses (Pty) Ltd based in South Africa. The transaction was valued at US$3.3m. Hest Harnesses was a leading supplier of automotive wiring harnesses, which enjoyed a market share of 30% in its domestic market as of December 2005. The company supplied its products to leading automakers such as, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler and Ford. Thus, Yazaki was set to benefit from the addition of Hesto Harnesses to its extensive portfolio of companies. In January 2006, Yazaki North America accomplished the first and second phases of a three-phase program to move its high-voltage manufacturing capabilities from Japan to North America.
The Third Generation: On the Road to Leadership
At Yazaki, the third generation of the founding family is already playing important roles in growing Yazaki globally. Yasuhiko Yazaki has two sons that represent the third generation of the family – Riku Yazaki and Ko Yazaki.
Riku Yazaki was born in 1968, and he joined Yazaki Corporation in 1991 when he graduated from Keio University in Tokyo. After working in several of the Yazaki Group’s companies, he became a director of Yazaki Corporation in 1999. As a young director, Riku Yazaki held numerous key management roles, including general manager of Yazaki’s Corporate Planning Division, World Wide Strategy (WWS) director for Yazaki Europe, director of Thai Yazaki Corporation, deputy plant manager