Isuzu shifts structure
TOKYO - Isuzu Motors Ltd., revamping its top management, said late last week that President Kazuhira Seki will move up to what used to be the title of chairman, now renamed CEO. Takeshi Inoo, 58, will succeed Seki with the title of COO.
Seki will continue to oversee Isuzu's ties with General Motors, while Inoo will be in charge of day-to-day operations at the truckmaker. GM owns 37.4 percent of Isuzu.
The changes become effective after ratification at Isuzu's annual shareholders meeting June 26.
James B. Treece
2 makers reach charger deal
WASHINGTON - General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. are trying to make it a little easier for electric-car owners to charge their batteries.
Today, June 1, the two companies plan to announce the adoption of a common design standard for inductive chargers, which GM uses on its EV1 coupe.
During the fourth-annual Clean Cities Conference in Washington, Toyota was expected to announce that it will offer an optional inductive charger on its RAV4-EV. Currently, the RAV4 is equipped only with a conductive charger.
Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Corp. and others use conductive chargers; GM and Nissan use a Delco-designed inductive charger.
The issue is an irritant for the auto industry because the two types of chargers are incompatible. Public charging stations at airports, shopping malls and public parking lots face added costs if they install both types.
Kitano to take post in Japan
TOKYO - Mikio Kitano, 58, the head of Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. since late 1994, will return to Japan to become president of Toyota Technocraft, a specialty shop that customizes limited-edition Toyotas, a company source said last week.
The change, which requires Kitano to leave the Toyota board, must be approved at the shareholders' meeting in late June. Kitano's pending reassignment was disclosed two weeks ago, but his new post was not.
Separately, Fujio Cho, who broke ground for Toyota's Kentucky plant, will move up from senior managing director in charge of government and public relations to executive vice president.
Cho said last week that he will be in charge of corporate planning, information systems, industrial vehicles such as forklifts and Toyota's growing investments in telecommunications.
James B. Treece