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January 27, 2023

Lexus, Gazoo Racing Chief To Become Toyota President

Toyota has tapped Koji Sato, the head of Lexus and Gazoo Racing, to be the Japanese carmaker’s next president and CEO, as Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, steps up to be the company’s new chairman.

The changes take effect April 1.

As part of the shuffle, current Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, known as the father of the Prius, will step aside as chairman but retain a seat on the board.

Under Toyoda’s watch, Toyota has managed to achieve record sales and earnings to solidify itself as the world’s largest automaker. The automaker has also successfully navigated several tumultuous periods of challenges including the 2009 financial crisis, 2011 Japan earthquake, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting parts shortages.

Toyoda, 66, has worked closely with Sato, 53, in Sato’s roles as head of the Lexus premium brand and as leader of Gazoo Racing, a pet favorite of the outgoing president.

Toyoda said Sato was tapped partly because “he loves cars” and because of “his youth.” Moreover, he said that someone younger needs to complete Toyoda’s transition into a new era.

Among Sato’s challenges is navigating an industry being transformed by electrification, autonomous driving, and connectivity (CASE).

Sato must also plot a path toward a carbon neutral future while balancing the wide customer needs of the automaker and fending off new rivals from China. He, however, promises to continue making fun-to-drive cars which are “stylish and cool.”

Sato has an engineering degree from Japan’s prestigious Waseda University and joined Toyota in 1992. He was appointed chief engineer of Lexus International Co., where his noted works included leading development of the Lexus LC.


  1. With this move, I hope Toyota can make their cars more exciting to drive. And they already need to bring in solid-state batteries to the market. They’re lagging behind in the BEV segment.

  2. Yes. I hope Toyota will bring more exciting cars.


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