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Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that Executive Vice President Akio Toyoda, a member of the founder’s family, will be promoted to president in June to lead Japan’s biggest automaker amid the global economic turmoil.

Toyoda, 52, a grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda, is taking the helm as the company is poised to become the world’s largest automaker. Despite a predicted year-on-year sales fall for 2008, Toyota looks on track to surpass American rival General Motors Corp., which retained the global top position for 77 years in terms of annual sales.

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