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Renault to hire ex-defense chief Koike as director

Kyodo

Renault SA plans to appoint former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike as an outside director, sources said Thursday.

The appointment of Koike, a Lower House member from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is expected to be approved at a general meeting of the French auto giant’s shareholders on April 30 in Paris, the sources said.

Koike, who was also environment minister and special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his first term from 2006-2007, would serve a four-year term on Renault’s board. The carmaker appears keen to take advantage of her wide-ranging connections, the sources said.

Koike would effectively take over for former Nissan Motor Co. Vice Chairman Takeshi Isayama, who has been an outside director since 2009, they added.

Lexus to be made in U.S.A.

Kyodo
NEW YORK

Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to start manufacturing the Lexus ES in Kentucky as early as in 2015, sources close to the issue said Wednesday.

It will be the first time Toyota has manufactured the luxury midsize sedan in the United States.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda will announce the decision in New York on Friday.

Toyota produces the ES at the Toyota Motor Kyushu Inc. factory in Fukuoka Prefecture, and is considering shifting the production entirely or partly to the United States.

The plan is consistent with Toyota’s efforts to boost on-site production so its business will not be heavily affected by exchange rates.

But the plan also poses the risk of the hollowing out Japan’s manufacturing industry, analysts said.