Toyota chief stresses safe growth
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Toyota's president said he is putting new auto plants on hold for three years and reshaping the automaker's structure to give more autonomy to regional divisions and foreign executives.
During his four years at Toyota's helm, Toyoda has learned the hard way the costs of blindly pursuing growth, a strategy inherited from his predecessor that he ruefully acknowledges got him slammed by a cascade of recalls.
The spectacular recall debacle in the US, which began in 2009 and involved millions of vehicles, got him grilled at US Congressional hearings over safety, but also rallied American dealers to his side. Toyoda wept openly during one emotional show of support from Toyota dealers in the US Then in 2011, an earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan wiped out auto suppliers and Toyota's vehicle production plunged. Yet the automaker's comeback has been stunning. It sold a record 9.75 million vehicles last year, regaining the crown of world's No 1 automaker from General Motors Co.
Despite the turnaround, caution lingers.
Whatever growth “a reborn” Toyota pursues must be “sustainable,” Toyoda, 56, told AP at Toyota's Tokyo showroom.
“We have to keep improving, getting better and better, not taking for granted that we have
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