Toyota Managers to Buy Cars to Help Company

Company might also name Akio Toyoda, a grandson of its founder, as its next president in June, in a bid to increase solidarity among the Toyota workers.

A group of 2,200 Toyota managers has decided to buy the company's cars in an effort to help the company withstand the global economic crisis, a company spokesman said Jan. 14.

The middle-level managers decided at a meeting last month to buy the new vehicles in their personal capacities by the end of March, a Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman said. The spokesman called it a voluntary effort, saying the company had played no role and would not force the managers to follow through on the plan. "It does not mean everyone in the group, which is essentially a fellowship association, would have to buy new cars," the company spokesman said.

The decision came as Toyota Motor expects to report its first annual operating loss in the current financial year due to the crisis hitting the global auto industry.

Officials at Toyota, among the most successful and stable Japanese companies, have openly voiced a sense of crisis as the automaker slashes jobs, lowers production and cuts costs to cope with the downturn. The company is reportedly moving to name Akio Toyoda, a grandson of its founder, as its next president in June, in a bid to increase solidarity among the Toyota workers.

Toyota is known for placing a premium on loyalty, helping the company grow from a provincial textile company into the world's top-producing automaker.

In another bid to help the auto industry, the government of Hiroshima prefecture in western Japan said it would buy 200 cars from the locally based Mazda Motor Corp.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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