March 2, 2016 / 12:01 PM / a year ago

Toyota shakes up corporate structure to focus on product lines

An employee works under a Toyota Motor Corp logo at the company's showroom in Tokyo, Japan February 5, 2016.Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) announced an overhaul of its corporate structure on Wednesday as the world's biggest-selling carmaker seeks to streamline decision-making and improve the way it manages its production as output hits record highs.

Effective April, the number of business divisions will be increased to nine from the present four, with the aim of creating a company "built around product-based rather than function-based organizations," it said in a statement.

Three new divisions will separately focus on compact, mid-size and commercial vehicles, alongside divisions dedicated to connected cars and to research and engineering.

The company will maintain its premium Lexus division, along with its two region-based divisions overseeing geographical markets, while it will also have a dedicated power trains division.

Managing officer Shinya Kotera will become senior managing officer and will lead the company's division which oversees China, Asia, and other regions. The remaining divisions will be led by existing senior managing officers.

Kotera, 54, previously headed the company's operations in East Asia and the Oceania region.

Toyota's sharper focus on end products comes after it posted global sales of 10.1 million vehicles in 2015 and begins vehicle production using its new, standardized engineering platform, under which vehicles will share more common parts according to their size, cutting production costs by as much as a fifth.

Toyota's revamped Prius, which began production in December in Japan, is the first model produced under Toyota's New Global Architecture platform. The compact saloon will be followed by a new C-HR crossover model which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this week and which will be produced in Turkey.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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