Toyota Brings Inaba Back To Clean Up U.S. MessBy Michelle Krebs February 20, 2009
Toyota Motor Corp. has rehired Yoshimi Inaba to revive the automaker's operations in North America where U.S. vehicle sales have plunged to their lowest level in nearly three decades.
The 62-year-old Inaba left Toyota in 2007 to run Central Japan International Airport Co. in Nagoya. He first joined Toyota in 1968 and later was president of North American sales. A Toyota spokesperson said he will oversee some North American projects.
This is the first major appointment of Toyota's incoming-president Akio Toyoda, who has said he plans to replace most of Toyota's top executives during this auto industry crisis, which is resulting in Toyota's first operating loss in 71 years. Toyoda, 52, is the grandson of the company founder. He was named president on January 20.
Toyota's sales in the U.S., its biggest market, have been falling by double digits for the past few months and fell 32 percent in January.
Meantime, Toyota also said Friday that it is suspending production in Japan even further due to deeply softening global sales. Toyota will halt production in April for three days at 11 factories. That's in addition to the already scheduled 14 days of downtime at those plants during the first quarter.