Harry Leahey

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Newly appointed CEO of Toyota, Koji Sato, has outlined the substantial changes he wishes to implement into the Japanese carmaker’s strategy - including a big onus on shaking up Lexus’ electric line-up.


It will also be followed closely by a revamp of its core personnel, as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers turns both eyes towards a greener, eco-friendlier future.


One of the most anticipated releases will be an all-new EV-specific platform, and while no particular details have been teased as yet, Sato has stated that there could be some sort of reveal upon his official promotion to the role of president on April 1.


Speaking to members of the press, Sato said: "The first is business reform starting with next-generation BEVs. To deliver attractive BEVs to more customers, we must streamline the structure of the car and with a BEV-first mindset, and we must drastically change the way we do business, from manufacturing to sales and service. Lexus will lead this transition."


The first dedicated platform EV from Lexus will be the Lexus RZ crossover, and is expected to launch later this year. However, Sato has confirmed that the first batch of next-generation EVs from the luxry firm will arrive in 2026.


In previous years, Sato has been credited with running the Lexus and Toyota Gazoo Racing teams. He had also previously worked closely with Masanori Kuwata, formerly Toyota’s chief compliance, risk officer and boss of Global Human Resources. Sato has promoted Kuwata to the position of head of Lexus in one of the CEO’s biggest moves since his instalment. 


Another pivotal move comes in the shape of Tesuo Ogawa, who is now the Chief Operating Officer for Toyota. He was previously working as the CEO of Toyota Motor North America - a role he will continue to tackle in beyond his promotion to COO of Toyota.


Continuing, Sato said: "The management team of Toyota is like a soccer team. The formation has to be flexible depending on the challenges we’re facing. My role as president will be to maximize the strength of the team as captain."


The shake-up has come as former CEO, Akio Toyoda, stepped down and took on a role as chairman of the brand’s board - bringing to an end his 13-year reign as Toyota’s lead.

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Harry Leahey 22/02/23