Yoshihiro Hidaka says his aim as President of Yamaha Motor globally is to increase the speed of growth while maintaining a sense of crisis.

Articulating his views in the company’s latest annual report, he says his other priority is to increase Yamaha’s real strength as a company through exceptional engineering, manufacturing and marketing. Additionally, he will strive to reinforce marketing and planning, without changing “our general direction of becoming a unique company that continues to achieve dynamic milestones”.

Hidaka, who took charge on January 1 this year, also believes that the move towards electric vehicles in the automobile industry is steadily picking up speed and “we need to pay attention to this trend”.

The Yamaha chief expects engines to continue to be used in products built for particular interests like large motorcycle models and marine products while smaller forms of mobility are certain to adopt electric power.

“Yamaha Motor released the world’s first electrical power-assisted bicycles, and we were an early entrant in the area of electric scooters. By further refining the technologies we have developed in this segment, we are increasing our competitiveness as a leading company in the area of small-sized electric mobility,” he states.

In addition to electric power, Hidaka believes the world of mobility can also be expected to move toward automated driving through Internet connectivity and the integration of AI.

“I consider electric power to be a risk on one hand, but see automated driving as an opportunity. To address the risk, we are making the expansion of our electric product line-up a top priority,” he states.

Yamaha is also strengthening its ability to offer solutions in automated driving based on “our image recognition and control technologies we have accumulated, and I intend to pursue this as a growth strategy”. Interestingly, Hidaka has reiterated that Yamaha will prioritise cultivating global human resources and promoting diversity. A total of 132 people have already completed training programmes as part of the drive to develop a next generation of global senior management. Yamaha has also hired 86 new graduates outside Japan, which translates to 10 per cent of its total new hires for general positions.

Apart from this, two of its executive officers are non-Japanese. “This diversity leads to a corporate culture that creates new value. In addition, women are playing a greater role in the company’s management,” states Hidaka.

In 2018, a woman became president of an overseas group company and a general manager of a division at headquarters for the first time. Yamaha has also increased the number of women posted overseas — including trainees — to 10. This is double the previous year’s number and “we will continue to work to create workplaces that make it easy for women to work”.