21 Jan 2009

Founder's grandson to run Toyota

6:32 am on 21 January 2009

The grandson of the founder of Toyota is to be the new president pf the Japanese carmaker Toyota.

Akio Toyoda, 52, who is currently executive vice president, will replace Katsuaki Watanabe, 66, in June.

The BBC reports the reshuffle comes as Toyota and rival companies around the world face a steep slump in sales as many countries enter recession.

Toyota has warned that it expects to report its first annual operating loss in the financial year ending in March. Sales fell 4% to 8,972,000 vehicles in 2008.

In Toyota's biggest market, the United States, sales fell by 16%, but that was still better than the 23% fall suffered by General Motors.

It will be the first time that a member of the Toyoda family has headed the company for 14 years.