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Shoichiro Toyoda, Who Built Toyota Into A Global Automaker, Died At 97

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(CTN NEWS) – TOKYO – Shoichiro Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corp.‘s honorary chairman who helped the Japanese carmaker become a well-known international brand, passed away on Tuesday from heart failure, the company reported. He was 97.

Toyoda, a third-generation descendant of the founding family who acquired its ownership interest in the company, is credited for building a quality control culture that assisted Toyota in growing into a top carmaker globally.

He also got Toyota, originally a loom producer, to start making cars abroad.

Shoichiro Toyoda, who joined the firm as a board member at just 27, is the grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Co., and Sakichi Toyoda, who established the Toyota group.

Shoichiro Toyoda who built Toyo

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He first served as president of Toyota Motor Sales Co., a subsidiary of the Toyota group, before the 1982 merger of its production and sales divisions resulted in the creation of Toyota Motor Corp. He held it until 1992 when he was appointed chairman.

On the strength of Japan’s economic expansion, Toyoda accelerated international production. Toyota, with headquarters in Aichi Prefecture, established a joint venture with General Motors Co. in the US in 1984.

The company’s production capacity was greatly increased in 1986 by constructing plants in Canada and Kentucky. Toyota also branched out beyond the North American market in the 1980s.

The global car behemoth currently operates production facilities in Europe, China, and Africa.

Toyoda concentrated his efforts on the housing industry in keeping with the family custom of starting a new business every generation.

His father, Kiichiro, began the production of autos, while his grandpa Sakichi began the manufacture of looms.

Shoichiro Toyoda who built Toyota into a global automaker died at 972

File photo shows Shoichiro Toyoda, honorary chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., in October 2017. (Kyodo)

Toyota Housing Corp., the company that Toyoda founded, is now a crucial division of Prime Life Technologies Corp., a partnership between Toyota, Panasonic Holdings Corp., and Mitsui & Co.

As Toyota works to create next-generation communities that incorporate electric vehicles and housing, it has played a significant role.

Through 1998, Toyoda led the Japan Business Federation, the nation’s largest business lobby, for four years as he struggled to revive the country’s sluggish economy and implement administrative and financial reforms.

Even after stepping down from the board in 2009, Toyoda retained significant control over the business, which is now one of the biggest automakers in the world. Since 1999, Toyoda has served as honorary chairman.

He was a Nagoya native who served as chairman of the group that organized the 2005 World Exposition in central Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, which helped the city’s economy grow.

Shoichiro Toyoda who built Toyo 1

The photo shows Shoichiro Toyoda (R), then the chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., posing for a photo in July 1998 alongside then president Hiroshi Okuda and a new Vista car at a Tokyo hotel. (Kyodo)

Additionally, he presided over Kaiyo Academy, an all-male residential school in Gamagori, Aichi, founded with his assistance and based on a British private school.

In 2007, Toyoda was admitted into the American Automotive Hall of Fame.

Although specifics have not been settled upon, the company hopes to host a goodbye celebration at a later time, it said.

Koji Sato, the 53-year-old leader of the auto group’s Lexus brand unit, will take over as president in April, according to Akio Toyoda, his son and current president, who made the announcement last month. Toyoda will then transition into the role of chairman.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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