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Toyota Motor Europe announced that Matt Harrison will become its new President and CEO, replacing Dr. Johan van Zyl, who will retire from this post as of April 1.

Van Zyl, who has been CEO of Toyota Motor Europe since April 2015, will retain his position as Chairman of Toyota South Africa Motors after that date.

Under van Zyl, Toyota Motor Europe expanded its hybrid model lineup, enhanced localization by bringing in more production and more models in markets like Russia, Poland, Turkey and France, and made additional investments in the TNGA platform in the UK and other factories.

Read More: Toyota Yaris Named 2021 European Car Of The Year

“What I am most satisfied about is the very strong team we have here in Europe,” said Dr. Johan van Zyl. “With such great people across the Toyota European organization, with such talent and passion, there won’t be any disruption in the transformation we have embarked upon, and I have no doubt Toyota will do very well under Matt’s leadership.”

Matt Harrison, who is the current Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Europe, has held several executive posts in Europe, including Director of Lexus Europe from 2008, Managing Director of Toyota Great Britain from 2013, and Vice President for Sales and Marketing from 2015.

Toyota Europe’s sales passed the one-million mark under Harrison in 2019 for the first time in 10 years, and topped a 6 percent market share in 2020, improving at the same time sales revenue and mix to enhance the carmaker’s profit and reduce CAFE emissions.

Harrison will now lead Toyota’s on-going transformation in Europe “from an automotive to a mobility company”, with a focus on achieving 1.4 million sales by 2024. This includes launching 10 battery-electric vehicles, at least five new plug-in hybrids, further increasing the lineup of hybrid models and expanding into mobility services with their KINTO brand.


The two Americans accused of orchestrating Carlos Ghosn’s daring escape from custody have been extradited to Japan.

Authorities believe that 60-year-old US Army Special Forces veteran and private security specialist Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, received approximately $1.3 million to help Ghosn flee Japan in late December 2019.

While Ghosn remains in Lebanon because the country has no extradition treaty with Japan, both Michael and Peter Taylor were arrested last year in the U.S. and have been held in a Massachusetts jail since May. For months, their lawyers asserted that they could not be extradited to Japan for helping someone jump bail and suggested they could be subject to “mental and physical torture” at the hands of Japanese authorities, BBC reports.

Read Also: Carlos Ghosn Thinks Coronavirus Pandemic Will Lead To More Auto Consolidation, Praises Tesla

However, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for their extradition in February and earlier this week they were flown to Japan.

“This is a sad day for the family, and for all who believe that veterans deserve better treatment from their own country,” the Taylors’ lawyer Paul Kelly said in a statement.

Japanese prosecutors claim that Peter Taylor flew to Japan and met with Ghosn at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for approximately one hour on December 28, 2019. The following day, Michael Taylor flew into Osaka on a chartered Bombardier Global Express jet.

The Taylors, accomplice George-Antonie Zayek, and Ghosn then met at a hotel on December 29 and boarded a bullet train to Osaka. Peter Taylor then left the country and flew to China while the others headed to a hotel in the city where Ghosn was loaded into a box used for transporting audio equipment. The following day, the trio flew to Turkey before boarding to a second private jet and flying to Beirut, Lebanon.

Alpine has taken the wraps of its new 2021 F1 machine, and its no surprise to see it’s decorated in the firm’s classic blue livery.

Alpine is a new name in F1, but the French sports car maker has a long history in motorsport. The company’s Renault-based sports cars won dozens of races and rallies in the 1960s and 1970s before Renault stepped in to save it from financial oblivion.

Renault resurrected the brand in 2017 for the Porsche Cayman-rivalling A110, and now it’s pushing into motorsport’s top tier. The Alpine team is essentially the same Renault outfit that came fifth in last year’s F1 season, and the 2021 Alpine A521 racer is an evolution of last year’s Renault RS20. Alpine will be the only team on the grid running Renault engines now that McLaren has switched back to Mercedes power.

Related: Is this what the new Aston Martin F1 car could look like?

The Alpine’s blue and red color livery gives it a very different look to last year’s Renault, however, and it’s not the only thing that’s changed. The driver line-up is also new. Daniel Ricciardo has defected to McLaren, and his spot alongside Esteban Ocon is taken by two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso.

Alonso recently suffered injuries to his jaw that required surgery after he fell off his road bike. But Alpine’s boss, Laurent Rossi, assured fans – and those all important sponsors – that Alonso would be fit for pre-season testing, and the opening race of the year in Bahrain later this month.

Spaniard Alonso was F1 Champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, and finished third driving a McLaren in 2007. He also came second behind Sebastian Vettel three times, but never quite replicated his early success and has been out of F1 for two years.

Not that he’s spent the time kicking his heels. Alonso won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota in 2018 and 2019, won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2019, and was the World Endurance Driver’s Champion the same year.

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