Honda Motor Co. Chairman Fumihiko Ike will take over as chief of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association in May, the industry lobby group said Thursday.
He will succeed Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota Motor Corp.
“Mr. Ike is like no one else, and he always candidly expresses his thoughts, and I respect him in many ways,” Toyoda said at a regular JAMA news conference in Tokyo, adding that he is confident Ike will exercise great leadership skills.
Ike, currently a vice chairman of JAMA, will assume the lobby’s top post following its board meeting on May 15. Executives from Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda hold two-year terms as the head of JAMA on a rotating basis.
Meanwhile, domestic vehicle demand, including for trucks and buses, for fiscal 2014 beginning in April is projected to decrease 15.6 percent, or 880,000 units, from the current fiscal year to 4.75 million units, according to a JAMA estimate released Thursday.
Toyoda attributed the expected decrease to a drop in consumer sentiment and decline following the spike in demand ahead of the sales tax hike April 1.
The tax hike is also expected to hurt domestic demand for two-wheeled vehicles in fiscal 2014. Sales are expected to fall by 4,000 units, or 0.8 percent, to 469,000 units from the previous fiscal year, according to JAMA.
Yoshiyasu Nao, the lobby’s executive director, said carmakers will try to revitalize the market by developing appealing products and make up for the expected decline.
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