TOKYO - Toyoo Tate, former president and chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., died April 9 from heart failure. He was 78.
During his tenure, Mitsubishi Motors emerged as a major global carmaker. He was president and CEO from 1983 to 1989, a period in which the automaker evol-ved from being an affiliate of Chrysler Corp. to a stand-alone publicly traded company.
Until going public in 1988, Mitsubishi sold its cars in North America exclusively through Chrysler Corp. dealers.
On Tate's watch, though, the company set up its own sales network in the United States and joined Chrysler in setting up what was then called Diamond-Star Motors Corp., a joint-venture assembly plant in Normal, Ill. Chrysler has since sold its stake in both Mitsubishi and the Normal plant, which is now called Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America Inc.
In 1989, Tate moved up to the largely ceremonial position of chairman, a post he held until 1993. He held the title of executive councillor.
Tate joined Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., in 1942, shortly after graduating from Tokyo Imperial University. He later transferred to trading house Mitsubishi Corp. before joining Mitsubishi Motors after it was spun off from Mitsubishi Heavy.