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Shoichiro Toyoda, Son of Toyota Founder, Dies at 97

Koichi KamoshidaGetty Images

  • Shoichiro Toyoda (pictured above in 2002 with then-Toyota CEO Fujio Cho) was the son of Toyota’s founder Kiichiro Toyoda.
  • Shoichiro’s son Akio Toyoda recently announced he would step aside from his term as Toyota’s president.
  • It is hard to ignore Shoichiro’s impact on the company’s history.

    One of Toyota’s most prominent leaders, Shoichiro Toyoda, has died. The son of the company founder Kiichiro Toyoda and father of the recently retired president Akio Toyoda, it’s safe to say that Shoichiro Toyoda has left a stamp on the automaker’s legacy. He passed away on February 14, from heart failure, at age 97.

    The late Toyoda was born in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, and attended Nagoya University, where he studied engineering. Shoichiro would later get his PhD in engineering from Tohoku University in 1955 with a thesis on fuel injection.

    Shoichiro joined the family business in 1952 and stated working his way through the ranks. In 1961 he became a managing director for the Toyota brand. He saw another rise in 1967 when he became the senior managing director, before jumping into a vice president role in 1971.

    Shoichiro was at the helm when the sales and manufacturing sides of Toyota merged, and was the president of this unified company from 1982 to 1992. During these years, the automaker rolled out its Lexus luxury division and developed legendary cars like the AE86 and A70 and A80 generation Supra models.

    Almost as important as helping these performance icons see the street, Shoichiro oversaw Toyota’s manufacturing expansion in the United States with the opening of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Kentucky. After stepping aside from the presidency, Toyoda joined the board of directors as chariman, where he sat until 1999. During his time on the board, Toyota opened factories in Indiana and West Virginia.

    Shoichiro Toyoda gets a ride at Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit.

    Toyota

    The company notes the funeral will be for family only, and a larger farewell gathering for the former president will be held at a later date. While it’s interesting to think of the president’s impact on the car company, it’s worthwhile to think about the changes ahead for Toyota.

    Shoichiro’s son Akio recently announced he will step aside from his role as president, and the former Lexus boss, Koji Sato, is filling the void.

    It’ll be hard to ignore Shoichiro’s impact on the company’s history when its books are written.

    Do you have a favorite president of a car company? Tell us your thoughts below.


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