Akio Toyoda resigns as CEO of Toyota as shift to electric vehicles advances

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda announced Thursday that he will step down from the position of president he has held for more than 13 years and assume the role of chairman amid plans to transition to electric vehicles.

Toyoda, 66, is the grandson of Toyota’s founder and has led the company since 2009. He will step down on his April 1st and be succeeded by Koji Sato, president of Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus. statement.

According to President Toyoda, the decision was made in response to Chairman Tsuyoshi Uchiyamada’s intention to step down. Uchiyamada will resign on April 1 and remain on the board.

“I thought the best way to move forward with Toyota’s transformation was for me to become chairman in favor of the new president, which led to today’s decision,” he said. live broadcast.

“Looking back, the last 13 years were one period after another when I struggled to survive. That’s how I honestly feel,” added Toyoda.

He believes Sato has the ability to drive the business “beyond the limits I can’t break.”

President Toyoda said, “To bring about change in these uncertain times, top management must always stand on the front lines.

“For that, stamina, energy and passion are essential. Youth itself is an important attribute.”

toyota exe
Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda (right) and Executive Officer Koji Sato test drive the RZ, Lexus’ first electric vehicle model in Japan, in this photo provided on January 26, 2023. Undated photo showing (via Kyodo/Reuters)

Sato, 53, is currently the company’s chief branding officer and president of the Gazoo Racing Unit. His appointment is subject to formal approval from shareholders at the next general meeting of shareholders.

During the live broadcast, President Sato said that he would like to accelerate Toyota’s electrification and work on making cars that “respond to diverse values ​​and local needs.”

“I will do my best to get even one step closer to the future of mobility that only automakers can create.

Electric car

Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, pledged Investing $35 billion in 2021 to sell 3.5 million electric vehicles worldwide by 2030 and release 30 battery-powered models within the same period.

In September 2022, President Toyoda said that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) “will take longer to become mainstream than the media would have us believe,” citing the impact on the grid and the impact on electricity. cited as a barrier the lack of easy access to passed.

Toyoda said his company will continue to offer a variety of vehicle models to customers as it advances its goal of developing electric vehicles, refuting critics who say Toyota is slow to embrace BEVs.

“Playing to win means playing with every card in the deck, not just some of the cards you choose. That is our strategy and we stick to it. I am,” he said at a news conference in Las Vegas.

The company launched its first mass-produced BEV in May 2022, but since then the bZ4X world has been criticized for the loose bolts that connect the wheels, which could cause the wheels to fall off while driving. announced a recall.

Toyota, like other manufacturers, has been forced to raise prices due to recent inflationary pressures. Inoue says it has lagged behind in pushing EVs because it has had great success with the Prius and other hybrid vehicles that alternate between electric motors and gas engines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.