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Toyota Names a New CEO as Akio Toyoda Steps Aside


Although his family name undoubtedly eased his path to the top, there were no guarantees that he would make it there. He also spent a decade training to race cars, participating in grueling endurance trials in preparation to become the company’s “master driver” a role in which he personally test drove new models.He is credited with making Toyota a leader in more energy efficient vehicles — symbolized by its best-selling Prius, a hybrid-electric car — but Mr. Toyoda has been slow to respond to the automotive industry’s recent movement toward full electrification.Toyota in 2017 exited an early partnership with Tesla, and Mr. Toyoda was flummoxed when the market cap of Elon Musk’s electric car company surpassed that of his own company. As competitors in the United States and elsewhere embraced all electric vehicles and as governments and automakers revealed plans to phase out combustion engines, Mr. Toyoda insisted that the world wasn’t yet ready to make the leap, arguing that many of the company’s customers, particularly in the developing world, would continue to rely on fossil fuels. Toyota, he insisted, would continue to manufacture its pioneering hybrid vehicles, combining electric motors and internal combustion engines, for decades to come.In an interview published by Toyo …

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