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Toyota Motor to Pick Uchiyamada as Next Chairman, Nikkei Says

Toyota Motor Corp. will probably pick Takeshi Uchiyamada, who led the development of the Prius hybrid car in 1990s, to replace Fujio Cho as the company’s next chairman, Nikkei reported today, without citing anyone.

Cho, 75, will become a senior adviser, though a final decision will be made at a board meeting in June, Nikkei said. Uchiyamada, currently vice chairman at Toyota, may also become vice chairman of the Keidanren, Japan’s largest business lobbying group, Nikkei said.

While President Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, is in charge of day-to-day operations at Asia’s largest carmaker, a change in chairmanship would be Toyota’s first since Cho took on the role in 2006. A new chairman would face the challenge of helping Toyoda revive the Japanese automaker’s leadership in the global auto industry in the face of mounting competition from Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motor Co.

Naoto Fuse, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Toyota, said the company isn’t the source of the information in the Nikkei report and declined to comment further.

Uchiyamada, 66, led Toyota’s development of the Prius -- the world’s best-selling gasoline-electric car -- before he was promoted to vice president in 2005. He became vice chairman of Toyota’s board in June 2012. Uchiyamada graduated from Nagoya University in 1969 with a degree in applied physics and joined Toyota the same year, according to the company’s website.

Cho was president of Toyota from 1996 to 2005 before becoming chairman in 2006.

Separately, Nikkei reported Masanori Mitsui and Yasuhiko Ichihashi will become the presidents of Toyota subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd., respectively.

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