"The larger Toyota becomes, the more difficult it becomes to create the mood for each worker to feel he or she plays a direct role in supporting Toyota,'' Toyoda said.
"The objective of the changes being announced today is to build an organization where people can take ownership of their work as we enter a new phase of growth in vehicle sales.''
Toyota was No. 1 in global vehicles sales last year, dethroning General Motors, which had been the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. But GM retook the sales crown in 2011, when Toyota's production was hurt by the Japanese disaster.
Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker's founder, stressed that the changes he hopes to spearhead herald a return to Toyota's roots.
The Toyota Way, a production method that empowers each worker for quality control, also encourages each employee to be innovative and independent. That spirit of valuing the people on the ground needed to be revived for Toyota's future, he said.
Among other changes outlined by Toyota:
* A new division called "Unit Center'' oversees the operations related to engines, transmissions and other key auto components, including technology, production planning and manufacturing.
* Lexus International, Toyota's luxury-vehicle division, which already exists as a relatively autonomous group, will be beefed up further, to become a premium brand overseen directly by Toyoda.
* Former President and current Chairman Fujio Cho will become honorary chairman and leave the board, while Takeshi Uchiyamada, a board member and engineer known as "the father of the Prius,'' Toyota's prized hybrid model, will become chairman.
* The other key non-Japanese promotions include Steve St. Angelo, an American overseeing North American production who will lead Latin American operations, and South African Johan van Zyl. He has worked for Toyota in the Middle East and Africa and will lead the business in the African region.