Hajime Seikaku became the new vice president of Mazda's European Research & Development Centre on 1 October.

The 53 year old cames to the Oberursel, Germany facility from the automaker's vehicle development division in Japan.

Prior to that, he served in various vehicle and parts development capacities for both Mazda and Ford in Europe and Japan. Seikaku first joined Mazda in 1987 after graduating in electrical engineering from Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo.

"Seikaku brings a wealth of vehicle development expertise and knows the requirements and preferences of the European market and its customers very well," said Mazda Motor Europe president & CEO Jeff Guyton.

"We're delighted to have someone join us with such an invaluable level of experience after more than 30 years at Mazda."

Seikaku succeeded Matsuhiro Tanaka who held the position from September 2016. He returned to Japan to become general manager of the chassis dynamics development department.

Oberursel engineers analyse new technology and develop parts and accessories for Europe. The site is also home to one of Mazda's three global design studios.