Kiichiro Toyoda

Kiichiro Toyoda

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Cited for extraordinary vision and entrepreneurial spirit, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) founder and former president Kiichiro Toyoda was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame last night (19 July) in Detroit.

Kiichiro Toyoda was one of five industry leaders named to this year's Automotive Hall of Fame induction class, TMC said in a statement.

He is credited with expanding Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, a successful textile business created by his father, Sakichi Toyoda, into automotive manufacturing in 1933.

Toyoda was president of TMC from 1941 to 1950.  His technical skills and leadership forged the foundations of a company that would eventually grow to be one of the most respected corporations in the world.

"Toyoda embodied the foresight and innovation that few people in history possess, demonstrated by his significant contributions to the automotive industry. We are honoured to include him in the 2018 induction class to the Automotive Hall of Fame," said Ramzi Hermiz, president and CEO, Shiloh Industries and board chairman, Automotive Hall of Fame.
TMC executives, headed by current chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, attended the induction and awards gala ceremony. Uchiyamada accepted Toyoda's award on behalf of the company and his family.
"America was a special place for Kiichiro. He was amazed by the prevalence of automobiles driving around US cities in the late 1920s and that was the catalyst for his determination to establish an automotive industry in his home country.

"As a successor and his grandson, I am very grateful and proud that Kiichiro has been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in America," said current TMC president Akio Toyoda.

"Kiichiro boldly changed Toyota's business model from automatic looms to automobiles without being constrained by previous successes. As his induction comes at a time when our industry is facing profound changes, I believe his message today would be to work hard to help the industry revolutionise the future of mobility, even if success is not immediate. I deeply appreciate the Automotive Hall of Fame for inducting my grandfather and our founder," he added.
Organisers had arranged for a 1936 Toyoda AA replica vehicle, on loan from the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, to be on display at the ceremony.

The car was designed and manufactured under the guidance of Kiichiro Toyoda, was the company's first production automobile and served as Toyoda's initial opportunity to experiment with waste-free and efficiency-focused production techniques, including the now-famous and much emulated 'just-in-time' concept.

The vehicle helped pave the way for the renowned Toyota Production System.