A conversation some years ago with Kohei Matsuda contrasted with the American way of thinking. A gracious man, he was Chairman of Mazda and also owned the Hiroshima Carp, a major league baseball team.
Our conversation was of general matters until he told me about
the reconstruction of the plant after the
We'd finished our obligatory cup of tea. I would now be shown through the factory. He then bowed and excused himself.
After my tour, I asked to see the Chairman briefly to thank him
for his hospitality. It was then he reminded me Mazda, at that time, had no
distribution in the
Selling automobiles did not fall into my field of knowledge or even interest, but I told him I had a friend who would undoubtedly like to consider the matter. He'd been national sales manger of short-lived Kaiser-Frazer. I'd ask him when I got home.
I met with Walter deMartini immediately upon my return. While he had automobile show-rooms on the west coast, these were nothing compared to what I was about to suggest. "Walter, would you like to take on national sales for Mazda?"
The response was instant and surprising. "Who would want to buy a Japanese car?"