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Double celebration for Toyota’s founding family

The founding family of Japanese motor manufacturer Toyota has two reasons to celebrate this week. Akio Toyoda, grandson of the car company’s founder, was confirmed as its new president on Tuesday while yesterday Toyota claimed the title of world’s biggest carmaker.

As expected, Toyoda (pictured) was entrusted with the top job even though it comes just six months after he was promoted to the role of chairman board of directors of Toyota’s European arm. It caps a rapid rise for the 54-year-old, who first joined the company in 1984.

The news also marks the transition from the third to the fourth generation of Toyodas, who own roughly 2% of the $26 billion organisation. On Monday, reports suggested that Shoichiro Toyoda, the honorary chairman and Akio’s father, is expected to resign later this year.

Toyoda takes up his new role at an opportune time. For the first time in 77 years, US-based General Motors is no longer the world’s biggest carmaker after a drop in sales ensures Toyota takes the top spot. In 2008 Toyota’s global sales were 8.97 million, a drop of 4% on the previous year.

However, not all the news is good as Toyota is expected to make its first annual operating loss in 70 years.

Related link:
Toyota’s founding family set for succession

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