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Manager who opened Mississippi Toyota plant returns to Japan

A new manager will take over at Toyota’s Mississippi assembly plant on Jan. 1.

The unit of Japanese-based Toyota Motor Corp. says Akitoshi Ichino will become president of the Blue Springs plant, which has more than 1,600 workers.

Founding president Masafumi Hamaguchi, who has run Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi since 2010, will return to Japan.

The $800 million Blue Springs plant began production in November 2011, and has an annual output of 191,000 cars a year.

The company says the Mississippi plant reached 500,000 vehicles made faster than any other plant in company history under Hamaguchi’s leadership.

Ichino was earlier general manager of the Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile plant in the Czech Republic. He now works at a plant in Japan that makes Corolla sedans, like the Blue Springs plant.

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