Toyota Recalls Retired Exec Back To Work In U.S

Toyota's U.S. division is bringing a former top executive out of retirement as it responds to the downturn in its biggest market.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Toyota's U.S. division will bring back a former top executive from retirement, as the world's top automaker battles the sales downturn in its biggest market.

Yoshi Inaba will return to a position at Toyota's U.S. operations, but his new role has not yet been identified, said Mike Michels, vice president of communications at Toyota Motor Sales USA. Inaba, 63, retired from Toyota earlier this decade after heading Toyota's U.S. sales arm and holding top positions at Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan.

Michels called reports that Toyota is planning a sweeping reorganization of its U.S. operations "speculative." The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Toyota will announce an overhaul of its manufacturing, financial and sales divisions in the U.S. as early as Friday and could place Inaba in charge of all three units.

"None of that can we confirm or will we have any information about," Michels said.

Tokyo-based Toyota is expected to report its first annual loss since 1950 for its fiscal year ended in March. The world's top automaker has seen demand for its cars plunge amid the recession in its key U.S. market. Toyota's U.S. sales fell 39 percent in March, worse than the industrywide decline, according to Autodata Corp.

Earlier this year, Toyota tapped Akio Toyoda to replace Katsuaki Watanabe as the automaker's next president.

Inaba is currently president of an airport in Nagoya, Japan. Michels said it is uncommon for an executive who retires from Toyota to return to the company.

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