Toyota’s two European manufacturing plants in the UK and France as well as those in Russia will come under the direct control of Toyota Motor Europe (TME) from next month instead of being the responsibility of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in Japan, the company has announced.

The changes are part of the shift to a regional management structure announced by Toyota to speed up decision making and bring the company closer to its customers.

Didier Leroy becomes president and CEO of Brussels-based TME and chief regional officer of TMC for Europe from 1 April. His responsibilities will extend to ED2, Toyota’s design studio in Sophia Antipolis, France, Toyota Motorsport, based in Cologne, Germany, and Toyota’s financial services units.

Two manufacturing plants currently under the direct responsibility of TMC, Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile (TPCA) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Russia (TMMR), will join the TME structure. 

The management of TME’s European head office functions will also be reinforced with executive vice president Hiroyuki Ochiai overseeing all manufacturing functions and operations under TME’s new scope.

Masahisa Nagata will be appointed executive vice president in charge of research, development and purchasing. His role will be to strengthen TME’s position as a global planning centre for smaller cars, described by Toyota as those in the A, B and C segments.

Toyota’s approach to Russia is in contrast to Mitsubishi Motor which, in 2007, separated distribution there from Mitsubishi Motors Europe into a stand-alone operation reporting direct to head office in Japan.