Nissan Americas names Carla Bailo senior vice president of research and development, effective April 1. She will be the first American to hold the title.

Bailo will be responsible for all vehicle engineering and development operations in Michigan, Arizona, Mexico and Brazil, Nissan says.

The Nissan Americas region comprises the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil, plus Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Bailo will replace Motohiro Matsumara, who holds the now-defunct title of president-Nissan Technical Center North America and is returning to Japan for an unnamed Nissan position.

Like Matsumara, Bailo will work at NTCNA’s Farmington Hills, MI, campus.

Bailo currently works at NMC in Japan, where she is the OEM business unit divisional general manager, with responsibility for the worldwide revenue and profitability of Nissan’s OEM relationships for vehicle, powertrain technology and intellectual property business, the auto maker says in a statement.

Bailo previously served in other roles at Nissan, including assistant chief engineer for the Sentra compact car and Quest minivan. She joined Nissan in 1989 from General Motors.

“(Carla) has established an impressive record for achieving quality and cost competitiveness while driving for continuous improvement in vehicle technology and quality,” Carlos Tavares, chairman-Nissan Management Committee-Americas, says. “I am enthusiastic about her contributions in her new role.”