On Tuesday September 17th, 2013, Toyota lost one of its greatest visionaries, Eiji Toyoda. Affectionately known as the “Ox”, Eiji Toyoda was instrumental in creating a super-efficient production method known as the “Toyota Way”. He applied the concept of “Kaizen” a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement to Toyota’s manufacturing culture. Employees are encouraged to the commitment of continuous improvement in safety, quality and the elimination of waste from all manufacturing facilities.
Toyoda was brought on to Toyota Motors by his cousin Kiichiro Toyoda, son of the founder, in 1937 after he graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1936 with a mechanical engineering degree and spent some time working in his family’s loom business. He served as president from 1967 to 1982 and continued as chairman and then as an adviser until his death.
Highlighted Key Achievements
- Created the “just-in-time” Toyota Production System
- Led the development of the Toyota Corolla
- Initiated development of luxury models ~ Lexus
- Prompted the development of the Prius gas-electric hybrid
- Driving force behind Toyota expansion overseas
- 1984 helped set up partnership plant with General Motors company
- 1994 inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich.