Toyota must start again, "from the bottom up," new president Akio Toyoda said Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo, the grandson of Toyota Motors’ founder said the company will focus on tailoring its product lines to customer demand in each region. Toward that end, Toyoda named an executive vice president to head each region. The company was not wrong to expand its business earlier this decade, Toyoda said, but he acknowledged that it might have overextended. Moving forward, the company’s focus will be on products, rather than profits, he said. Taking responsibility for the company’s $4.4 billion net loss in the most recent fiscal year, Toyoda said he would cut his salary by 30 percent.
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There are no current plans to close factories, a company executive said. Analysts say Toyoda must drastically cut costs, but he offered no hints as to how or even whether that would be done at his first news conference as president. The company board formally approved Toyoda, 53, for the job on Tuesday. He has been with Toyota for 24 years. His grandfather slightly altered the family name when christening the company “Toyota,” which has eight brush strokes in Japanese — a fortuitous number.