Eiji Toyoda, the one who helped Toyota Motor expand in the US, died today, 17h September.
Eiji Toyoda died at 100 due to heart failure at the Toyota Memorial Hospital located in Toyota City, Japan. He was the younger cousin of the automaker’s founder and during his 69-year career he helped create an automaker which became a tough rival for Ford and GM and in 1994, when he stepped down, the company was manufacturing Corolla vehicles in the US.
He was the one who started the Lexus luxury automaker and the project which would offer the world the most sought-for gas-electric vehicle, the Prius.
“He played an important role in leading Toyota’s expansion into North America, and in developing the carmaker into a global company,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, said at a press conference in Tokyo. “He was someone who was indispensable to the nation’s entire industry.”
During his 69-year career the automaker rose from assembling vehicles with parts manufactured by GM to an automaker 16 times more valuable than the US car maker. In 1967 Toyota was named president of Toyota Motor and he served in this position until 1982, when Toyota Motor Sales and Toyota Motor merged and formed Toyota Motor Corp. He became chairman of the new company, serving until 1992.
Under his leadership Toyota set up more than 10 plants, started exporting vehicles globally and also built its reputation for creating excellence. His greatest accomplishment was to form Toyota’s first JV in the US in 1983, New United Motor Manufacturing Inc, which started production in Fremont, California in 1984.