Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

In this Sept. 26, 2013, file photo Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota in North America, listens during an interview in New York.

Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press

Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday said its North America chief executive, Jim Lentz, would retire on April 1, and tasked the unit’s chief operating officer, Tetsuo “Ted” Ogawa, with navigating an industry shift to electrification and automation.

Ogawa has worked for Japan’s biggest automaker and the United States’ third-largest vehicle seller in a number of posts since 1984. He was appointed to his current role at Toyota Motor North America in November 2018.

In a statement, he said Lentz “was instrumental in the restructuring and bringing our North American region together.”

Story continues below advertisement

Lentz, a 38-year-veteran of Toyota, said his long tenure including almost seven years at the helm was in part a function of the automaker’s culture.

“We have a long-term view of things and try to keep our eyes on the horizon and not get sea sick with all the dips and twists and turns,” Lentz, 64, said in an interview. “The new normal in the world is a little more chaotic and so we have to do a better job of scenario planning.”

While the industry is facing a dramatically different future with the rise of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles as well as mobility as a service, Lentz said he saw the change as more evolutionary and revolutionary.

Lentz also noted automakers are still grappling with the continuing shift in U.S. consumer preference toward sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

Toyota is building a $1.6 billion joint venture assembly plant in Alabama with compatriot Mazda Motor Corp that it expects to open in 2021. In July, Toyota said it would build SUVs at the plant rather than its Corolla line of cars.

Lentz said overall U.S. auto sales were around 400,000 vehicles higher than the firm forecast last year, and estimated the industry would sell about 17 million vehicles in 2019.

IMPROVED RELATIONS

Lentz guided Toyota in the United States through a number of challenges, most notably the 2010 unintended acceleration crisis that prompted the recall of millions of vehicles.

Story continues below advertisement

In 2014, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department after it admitted to misleading consumers in relation to the matter.

More recently, Toyota under Lentz improved its relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump and helped stave off vehicle import tariffs. Lentz attended a White House event in July after presidential adviser Ivanka Trump toured Toyota’s Kentucky operations in March.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies