Toyota Director Hogan to Focus on Aiding Latin America Expansion

Toyota Motor Corp.’s only non-Japanese board member said the world’s largest automaker is underperforming in Brazil and Argentina and that his focus is on helping the company expand in Latin America.

“It’s always been a curiosity to me as to why Toyota has underperformed particularly in those markets and frankly speaking I used to kid Akio about that,” said Mark Hogan, 62, a former General Motors Co. executive, referring to President Akio Toyoda. “Toyota reputationally has a very strong image in the Latin American market, so its market share should and will increase.”

Toyoda in March named Steve St. Angelo to head Latin America and Caribbean operations, leaving four of the company’s eight regional operations under non-Japanese nationals. The Toyota City, Japan-based automaker counted on Latin America, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East for about 18 percent of revenue in the 12 months ended in March.

Hogan, the first foreigner on the Japanese automaker’s board since 2007, also said his experience running GM’s business in Brazil will help him advise St. Angelo on operating in the region.

Hogan’s ties to Toyoda stretch back more than a decade, when both worked at the now-defunct Toyota-GM joint venture plant in California called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.

After leaving GM, Hogan spent three years as president of Canadian auto-parts maker Magna International Inc. from 2004. He became an overseas adviser for Toyota in 2011 after the Japanese company recalled more than 10 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 for defects associated with unintended acceleration.

Toyota has made progress on its past weakness of “methodical, slow decision-making” by empowering local executives, Hogan said today.

-- Editors: Dave McCombs, Chua Kong Ho

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