Toyota Motor Corporation’s honorary chairman and father of president Akio Toyoda, Shoichiro Toyoda has passed away, the company announced in a statement. He was 97. The auto giant confirmed that his death was due to heart failure at 4.48 pm (Japan Standard Time) on February 14. Shoichiro Toyoda was instrumental in the automaker’s global growth turning Toyota into the global automotive leader it is today.
Shoichiro Toyoda was the eldest son of Kiichiro Toyoda, who founded Toyota in 1937. Born in 1925, the third-generation scion in the Toyoda family inherited the automotive business and established the culture of quality control at the company. He joined the company as a board member in 1952 and was named managing director in 1961 for his push towards improving product quality.
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He became the executive vice president in 1971 and later the president of the Toyota sales organisation in 1982. Toyota merged the production and sales organisations to form Toyota Motor Corporation a year later and Shoichiro was named president of the group. He would later be appointed as the chairman of the board from 1992 to 1999.
Shoichiro played a major role in taking the brand global pushing for producing vehicles overseas. This was especially true for the brand in the US, where it’s a top seller. The company initially entered the US market through a joint venture with General Motors in 1984. The automaker would go on to build plants in the US and Canada, establishing its presence in the North American market.
The late 1980s also saw Toyota expand its production facilities in Europe, China, and Africa. Toyota entered the Indian market in 1997 in a joint venture with India’s Kirloskar Group, a partnership that still stands today.
Shoichiro Toyoda was named honorary chairman in 1999 after he stepped down from Toyota’s day-to-day management. He continued to have a heavy influence on the company over the years. Toyota said that a funeral would be held for the Toyoda patriarch in the presence of close family, while a farewell event will take place later organised by the automaker.
First Published Date: 14 Feb 2023, 19:43 PM IST