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AP Interview: After turnaround from crises, Toyota chief says growth must be sustainable

After four tumultuous years bookended by an unprecedented recall crisis and a return to the top of the global auto industry, Akio Toyoda is refashioning Toyota Motor Corp. into a leaner company that's more imbued with the venture spirit of founder Kiichiro Toyoda, his grandfather.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Toyota's president said he is putting new auto plants on hold for three years and reshaping the automaker's structure to give more autonomy to regional divisions and foreign executives.

During his four years at Toyota's helm, Toyoda has learned the hard way the costs of blindly pursuing growth, a strategy inherited from his predecessor that he ruefully acknowledges got him slammed by a cascade of recalls.