Bob Carter, 53, solidified his position as heir apparent to Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., in an executive shuffle last week.
Carter, the Toyota Division chief, was promoted to senior vice president for automotive operations, reporting to Lentz, 56.
The changes came as Toyota sales roar back this year from last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which hobbled Toyota production.
Carter replaced Don Esmond, 68, who was named a senior adviser to Lentz. Esmond will be responsible for the transition of the new team until year end, when he will retire. He joined Toyota in 1982.
Carter has held a variety of sales and marketing posts with Toyota and Lexus since joining the company in 1981. He earned credibility with Toyota dealers after stepping out of Toyota's corporate structure to become a dealer himself in the 1990s when he ran Hyannis (Mass.) Toyota as the dealership's general manager and part-owner.
Replacing Carter as head of Toyota Division is Bill Fay, 56, former group vice president for Toyota marketing. His marketing post was filled by Scion Vice President Jack Hollis, 45. Doug Murtha, 46, vice president for product planning, replaced Hollis at Scion.