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 US 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 and Hyundai Motor. Uchiyamada graduated from Nagoya University with a degree in applied physics in 1969 and joined Toyota a month later.