Suzuki Motor Corp. names Masafumi (Mark) Harano the new president-automotive operations for American Suzuki Motor Corp. effective May 1.

Harano, 43, previously was president of Suzuki Canada Inc., a post he has held for the past three years.

With Harano in place, current American Suzuki President Koichi Suzuki will return to Japan to oversee Suzuki’s North American marketing department.

American Suzuki has been on a solid growth track in the past few years. First-quarter 2007 sales were its best ever and came on the heels of a record-setting 2006.

“I am proud that our sales showed double-digit increases for each of the last three years and that we set a new sales record of over 100,000 units last year,” Koichi Suzuki says. “With more outstanding products on the horizon, I am confident that Mark’s leadership will allow American Suzuki to build upon its sales momentum and continue Suzuki’s success in the United States.”

“With the launch of three all-new products in the past two years, and with five more vehicles coming in the next four years, this is an exciting time for American Suzuki,” Harano says.

Suzuki has not named a replacement for Harano in Canada.

Among the five upcoming models is the all-new SX4 sedan recently unveiled at the New York International Auto Show.