In an automotive utopia, leaders of car companies are actually car enthusiasts. We’re glad to see such dreams meet reality in the appointment of Akio Toyoda to the president and CEO of Toyota Motor Company.
Toyoda, 52, not only has Toyota in his blood (he’s the grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda) but he’s also been involved with a pair of high-performance Lexus models: the IS-F and LF-A. Though the latter has yet to be confirmed for production, Toyoda has spearheaded its development and even driven a race-spec version of the prototype in a 24-hour race at the Nurburgring.
Previously the executive vice-president of the Japanese firm, Toyoda will succeed current CEO Katsuaki Watanabe, who held the position since 2005.
Although enthusiasts may look at Toyoda’s association as performance-tuned products as a sign of fun machines to come, Toyoda will have bigger fish to fry in today’s economic climate. Toyota’s global sales fell four percent in 2008, and is expecting a $ 1.7 billion loss for the fiscal year ending in March.