Father of Prius hybrid set to become Toyota chairman: execs
Japan's Nikkei economic daily reported late on Monday that Toyota had picked Uchiyamada to replace Cho this year.
In many Japanese companies, including Toyota, the chairman's role is often to take charge of external affairs, such as government and industry affairs, while the president runs day-to-day operations. Cho has served as chairman of the Japan-China Economic Association since 2007 and is chairman of the Japan Sports Association. He has also served as a vice chairman for Keidanren, Japan's main business lobby.
The Nikkei said in its report that Uchiyamada was likely to become vice chairman of Keidanren.
Uchiyamada, an experienced vehicle engineer, was a prime mover behind the first-generation Prius in the 1990s - a car that has gone on to become the world's best-selling hybrid. He also supervised Toyota's manufacturing division, and was named as executive vice president in 2005.
Toyota, the world's largest car maker by volume sales, blazed a trail for mass producing quality cars, but tripped up by expanding too fast into the U.S. muscular SUV and truck market at a time when the yen was rising. It was also hit by a reputation-denting mass recall and severe supply problems after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It has since rebounded, helped by a relentless cost-paring drive, but remains under pressure from rivals such as Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motor Co.
Uchiyamada graduated from Nagoya University with a degree in applied physics in
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