A Tribute To An Automotive Genius: Shoichiro Toyoda — The Man Who Shaped Toyota Into What It Is Today

On February 14, 2023, the automotive world lost a genius. Shoichiro Toyoda, was the son of Toyota Motor founder Kiichiro Toyoda and he played a key role in the growth of Toyota Motor Corporation into the automotive giant we now know. Alongside spearheading the growth of Toyota, Shoichiro Toyoda was also responsible for the launch and success of Lexus.

In the last 15 years, Toyota has been crowned the world’s largest automotive manufacturer 11 times. We know Toyota Motor Corporation has produced some legendary cars like the Land Cruiser, 4Runner, Corolla, Camry, Supra AE86, etc. Toyota’s luxury cars division Lexus has also seen immense success since its launch with its cars taking the competition to long-running brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi.

Even here in the GCC nations and especially in the UAE, Toyota cars are looked at with immense respect and their bulletproof reliability has been praised endlessly. However, Toyota has not always had a successful run.

In fact, Toyota’s cars were once ridiculed for being rattly and underpowered. Way back in 1957, a 32-year-old Shoichiro Toyoda went on a roadtrip across the USA in what was then known as the Toyopet Crown. It was a four-cylinder model for budget-conscious families in America. However, consumers felt it wasn’t up to the mark.

This incident led Mr. Toyoda into implementing more stringent quality checks and other changes in the way the brand designed cars. This is just one among many instances where Shoichiro Toyoda, led by a combination of instinct and practicality ended up improving the company and its manufacturing policies.

In fact, it was because of Shoichiro Toyoda that the industry redefining ‘Just-In-Time’ assembly line practice was implemented. This took production efficiency to levels that were untouched prior to this. Today, almost all major manufacturers across the world use this production technique which is more commonly known as ‘The Toyota Way’ or ‘Toyota Production System’.

Shoichiro Toyoda was also responsible for the implementation of ‘Genchi Genbutsu’, which allowed top-level management to be directly in touch with lower-level workers at the factory. This allowed senior executives to see things firsthand.

The Toyota Land Cruiser went from being a bare-bones, basic off-road vehicle to a luxury off-road SUV under his leadership. The Toyota Supra was developed during his period at the helm. Lexus was launched during the same period too. Even the first Toyota V8 engine was developed while Shoichiro Toyoda was leading the brand.

Basically, everything we in the UAE love about the Toyota brand was intertwined with the decisions Shoichiro Toyoda took many years ago. At this point, it is worth mentioning that the Toyota Land Cruiser is the most searched-for vehicle in the UAE car market. This can also be retraced to the contributions of Shoichiro Toyoda.

On February 14, 2023, Shoichiro Toyoda breathed his last, aged 97. His contributions to the automotive industry are sure to stay for several decades to come. The Land Cruiser might just live on for a hundred more years.

In case you haven’t already noticed, Toyota’s cars are very popular and highly respected here in the UAE. If you’re interested in buying one, there are over 2,000 used Toyota Cars in the UAE and if new cars are your thing, there are several new Toyota cars in the UAE

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