Toyota names new president

Japanese automaker reshuffles ranks after posting drop in 2008 sales.

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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's top automaker Toyota reshuffled its leadership Tuesday after posting a 4% decline in sales for 2008, with the grandson of the company's founder becoming president.

Akio Toyoda will replace Katsuaki Watanabe as the company's president in June, the company announced. Toyoda's grandfather, Kiichiro Toyoda, took what was then a textile-equipment company into the automotive business in 1935.

Watanabe will replace the retiring Katsuhiro Nakagawa as Toyota's vice chairman, while the current chairman, Fujio Cho, will remain in place, the company said.

The moves -- which must be confirmed by the company's governing board in June -- follow the release of sales figures showing the company's overall receipts down 4% in 2008. Japanese sales were down 5%, with overseas markets seeing a 4% decline.

Toyota executives warned investors to expect losses in December. Last week, it announced plans to idle all 12 of its wholly owned factories in Japan for an extra 11 days in response to the slumping auto market worldwide. To top of page

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