AP Interview: Toyota chief stresses safe growth
TOKYO (AP) - After four tumultuous years bookended by an unprecedented recall crisis and a return to the top of the global auto industry, Mr Akio Toyoda is refashioning Toyota Motor Corp. into a leaner company that's more imbued with the venture spirit of founder Kiichiro Toyoda, his grandfather.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Toyota's president said he is putting new auto plants on hold for three years and reshaping the automaker's structure to give more autonomy to regional divisions and foreign executives.
During his four years at Toyota's helm, Mr Toyoda has learned the hard way the costs of blindly pursuing growth, a strategy inherited from his predecessor that he ruefully acknowledges got him slammed by a cascade of recalls.
The spectacular recall debacle in the US, which began in 2009 and involved millions of vehicles, got him grilled at US Congressional hearings over safety, but also rallied American dealers to his side.