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Toyota Names Founder’s Grandson Toyoda as New President

Toyota Motor Corporation has named Akio Toyoda, the grandson of company founder Kiichiro Toyoda, as its new president. He succeeds Katsuaki Watanabe, who will become vice chair. The announcement comes on the same day that Toyota announced global sales for 2008 fell by 4 percent, the first annual sales drop in 10 years. "I am simply determined to do my utmost in being handed this big role of steering Toyota as it faces what has been said to be the worst crisis in a century," Toyoda said in a news conference in Tokyo, according to the Associated Press. Toyota has been fighting to overtake General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker. According to the company, Toyota was named for the founder but the "d" in the name was changed to a "t" because Japanese superstition believed it to be luckier.

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