Eiji Toyoda dies at 100, 1913-2013

New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a $400 million joint venture between General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motors Corp., was inaugurated with a dedication ceremony at the Fremont, Calif., plant. Toyota Chairman Eiji Toyoda stands in front of a Chevrolet Nova on the assembly line, April 13, 1985. Photo: Reuters/AP Photo/Paul Sakuma 

Eiji Toyoda, the man took Toyota from a small Japanese car maker to global dominance, has passed away at the age of 100. Eiji Toyoda was president of Toyota from 1967 to 1982 and continued as chairman and then as adviser until his death.

“Ever since Toyota’s establishment in 1937, I have been involved in this wonderful business, and as long as my engine keeps running, I intend to give back as much as I can for the industry’s further development,”

Eiji graduated with an mechanical engineering degree in 1936 and entered the family business right around the time Toyota Motor Corporation was building the Toyoda AA. The AA's chassis and electrics were copied from the Ford model A, the engine a copy of the 1929-36 Chevrolet Stovebolt L6 OHV, while the body was influenced by the Chrysler Airflow.

Just two years later Kiichiro Toyoda, son of Sakichi and founder of Toyota Motor Corporation, tasked Eiji with the construction of a new factory near Koromo. This factory and the city surrounding it would become known  officially as Toyota City in 1959.

It was on a trip to Ford’s River Rouge plant in 1950, that perhaps Eiji's greatest contribution to the automotive world was made. The Ford plant was the largest factory in the world, producing more than 7,000 cars a day. Toyota’s just-in-time manufacturing technique was the idea born of that visit, a concept that has been adopted by all automakers and companies in other fields both large and small.

Eiji Toyoda had three sons and a daughter with his wife, Kazuko. He is survived by his eldest son, Kanshiro.

Source: 790KGIM