Shigeki Terashi is new president, COO of Toyota Motor North America

Article by Anita Panait, on March 10, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) has appointed Shigeki Terashi as president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America (TMA), effective April 1. For his new role in TMA, Terashi will be TMC’s chief regional officer for North America, and will be the chairman of Toyota’s cross-affiliate North American Executive Committee.

Terashi will retain his position as president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, North America, Inc. (TEMA). Terashi will be replacing Yoshi Inaba, who will be concentrating on his role as chairman of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS). Current president and chief operating officer of TMS, Jim Lentz, will be promoted as president and CEO of sales unit. Lentz will be the first American to sit as CEO of TMS.

Toyota’s structure in North America is quite different from its organizational makeup in Japan, Europe and China, to allow faster decision making. Toyota’s North American operation is currently divided into a corporate unit, a sales company, a manufacturing and engineering division, and finance arm.

The new structure was introduced after the company suffered from the 2010 recall crisis, according to Jeff Liker, an engineering professor who specializes in Toyota research at the University of Michigan.

"A lot of countermeasures after the recalls related to creating more regional self-reliance," said Liker adding that Toyota’s previous structure had worked well, but the company has to change its strategy due to heavy competition and situation in the region.

In 2009 and 2010, the company recalled over 10 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles worldwide on defects associated with unintended acceleration.

The company recently issued another recall, this time to fix faulty stop lamp switches and air bag-related parts in the US.  Affected are more than 681,000 units of 2009 model Camry sedans, 2009-2011 model Venza wagons and 2005-2009 model Tacoma pickups

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