Toyota's new CEO Koji Sato announces major changes to the automaker's executive team as part of a strategy to accelerate electric vehicle development. An EV-specific platform should launch around 2026, and there's a focus on electrifying Lexus.
Sato gave no specific details about the new EV platform. However, he said that more details about his plans were coming after his official promotion to company president on April 1. We might learn more about these underpinnings at that time.
"The first is business reform starting with next-generation BEVs," Sato said, according to Automotive News. "To deliver attractive BEVs to more customers, we must streamline the structure of the car and with a BEV-first mindset, we must drastically change the way we do business."
Sato previously ran Lexus and the Toyota Gazoo Racing divisions. He promoted Masanori Kuwata to be the new boss at Lexus. Kuwata was previously Toyota's chief compliance and risk officer and boss of global human resources.
"Lexus is going to have a leading role for that," Sato said regarding his electrification strategy.
Gallery: Lexus RZ 450e
The 2023 RZ (pictured above) is Lexus' first in a new family of EVs. Prices start at $59,650 after the destination fee. The Lexus RZ 450e Luxury starts at $65,150, and the cost can go as high as $72,209 with every option and accessory.
In addition, Tetsuo "Ted" Ogawa, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor North America, received a promotion to operating officer within the parent company. He will continue to have his previous duties, too.
"The management team of Toyota is like a soccer team," Sato said. "The formation has to be flexible depending on the challenges we’re facing. My role as president will be to maximize the strength of the team as captain."
Akio Toyoda announced in January that he was stepping down as CEO and taking on a role as chairman of the board. He appointed Sato as his successor at that time. Toyoda has been the automaker's president and CEO for 13 years.