Japan: Toyota's New President Takes the Wheel

In Japan, there is no mistaking the significance of Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota Motor's founder, taking over as the carmaker's president. After Toyota (TM) announced the move in January, local media referred to it as taisei hokan, a historical reference to the Meiji Restoration in 1867, when Japan's emperor took back power from the shoguns who had been ruling the country. At a press conference on June 25, two days after taking the helm from Katsuaki Watanabe as the 11th president in the automaker's 72-year history, the Toyoda family scion steered clear of announcing a big shakeup. He said the struggling company would go on with efforts to cut costs, boost regional autonomy, and develop affordable, high-quality vehicles that stir emotions. "[We] will work hard to develop cars that people fall in love with," he said.

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