Toyoda, 66, has worked closely with Sato, 53, in the latter’s roles as head of the Lexus premium brand as leader of Gazoo Racing, a pet favorite of the outgoing president.
Toyoda said Sato was tapped, partly because “he loves cars” and because of “his youth.”
Toyoda said someone younger needs to complete Toyota’s transition into a new era.
“I’m a carmaker through and through, and that’s how I’ve transformed Toyota,” Toyoda said. “But a carmaker is all that I am. That is my limit. The new team under President Sato has the mission to transform Toyota into a mobility company.”