Tokyo: In his capacity as the company's founder's son, Shoichiro Toyoda managed Toyota's entry into foreign markets. He was 97. The company's honorary chairman, Toyoda, passed away on Tuesday from heart failure, according to a statement from Toyota Motor Corp.
He was the father of Akio Toyoda, who recently declared his intention to leave his position as president and CEO to take the company's chairmanship. Kiichiro Toyoda, who established Toyota in 1937, had an older son named Shoichiro.
Shoichiro Toyoda took over as president of Toyota in 1982
Shoichiro Toyoda, who took over as president of Toyota in 1982, had a key role in guiding the company's evolution into a global carmaker, especially in the crucial US market, where its name came to stand for reliability, quality, cost effectiveness, and engineering skill.
Father and son both lived through the trying era of "Japan-bashing," when strong Japanese exporters like Toyota were held responsible for the loss of American blue-collar jobs.
The corporation joined US car industry to demonstrate that Toyota is valuable asset
The corporation made the decision to join the US car industry, demonstrating that Toyota was a valuable asset that brought value and jobs to the American people.
With his brother Tatsuro, Shoichiro Toyoda helped pave the way for Toyota to set up manufacturing facilities in North America. The company formed a joint venture with General Motors in 1983. It was called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI, and its first vehicle rolled out in 1984 in Freemont, California.
The company relied on the founding family's legacy and historical charisma to tide it through times of crisis, although Toyota has had many chief executives who were not members of its founding family.
Shoichiro Toyoda was inducted into the US Automotive Hall of Fame in 2007, honoured for his achievements in cementing "Toyota's reputation as one of the most recognised and celebrated auto manufacturers in the world".
He was graduated from the prestigious Nagoya University in 1947 with a degree in engineering and joined Toyota in 1952
It's said that he earned the respect of fellow employees by working right beside them in factories. That underscored Toyota's vision of valuing the workplace, what's on the ground, or "genba", as critical for morale, efficient production, innovation and quality.
Toyota's beginnings were humble. Shoichiro Toyoda 's grandfather, Sakichi Toyoda, invented the automatic loom in a backyard shed, mainly because he wanted to help his mother, who often was weaving in their home.
People were sceptical when Kiichiro Toyoda said he wanted to start building cars in 1933. Back then, Japan only had imported cars like GMs and Fords.
Today, "The Toyota Way", a production method that empowers each worker for quality control, is viewed as the best in the auto industry. Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, is among the world's top automakers in vehicle sales.
A funeral for Shoichiro Toyoda was being held for close family. A "farewell" event in his honour was being planned for a later date, according to Toyota. Details of other surviving family members were not immediately available.
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