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Toyota names new North American president

Newly produced Toyota cars are seen parked at Sendai port in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan March 2, 2012.

YURIKO NAKAO/REUTERS

Toyota Motor Corp. named a new North American president and chief operating officer on Wednesday.

Shigeki Terashi will assume the position effective April 1 and be the Japanese auto maker's chief regional officer and chair Toyota's North American executive committee, the company said in a statement.

The current North American president and COO, Yoshi Inaba, will remain on the executive committee but move back to Toyota Motor Sales USA as chairman.

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Toyota also said Jim Lentz, currently president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, will become president and chief executive. He is the first American to be named to that post.

Mr. Terashi, who will retain his current position as president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing in North America, joined Toyota in 1980 in the body engineering design division and began by working on the Camry mid-sized car.

Before being named to his current position, Mr. Terashi led the Toyota Technical Center and oversaw the development and launch of the Venza crossover vehicle, Sienna minivan and other products in North America.

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