The man who helped build one of the world's best known car brands has died aged 97.
Shoichiro Toyoda, the honorary chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, was the grandson of Sakichi Toyoda, who founded the Toyota as a spinning and weaving company in 1918, and son of Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of the Toyota Motor Company.
Shoichiro Toyoda became a board member of the company at the tender - by Japanese business terms - age 27 and was a strident advocate of achieving high levels of product quality to counter the post-WW II resistance to Japanese-made vehicles.
Born and educated in Nagoya, he had a deep love of quality engineering and wrote his doctorate thesis on fuel injection.
Mr Toyoda rose through the company, from managing director in 1961 to executive vice-president 11 years later and became president of the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1982, overseeing the fastest expansion in the company's history.
He introduced the revolutionary "just in time" production system which automatically orders and delivers vehicle parts as they are used - now adopted by carmakers throughout the world - and the kaizen system of continuous product improvement.
Under his tenure there were times of significant friction, too, as Toyota grew its global reach.
During the mid-1980s, the US trade deficit with Japan ballooned out to US$58 billion - with Japanese-built cars the biggest contributor. Toyoda defused this situation by entering into a joint venture with General Motors before later opening his own US factories in California and Kentucky.
It was in the role as company president that Toyoda supported and committed massive internal corporate funds to the creation and development of the luxury Lexus brand, which Toyota aimed to challenge the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, particularly in North America.
Toyoda's vision for corporate growth was always to temper it with high quality, striving to ensure that the same levels of quality achieved at home could be transferred to its plants in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and Australia.
He also diversified the company into other fields, such as Toyota Housing, and served as the head of the Japan Business Federation lobby group.
Shoichiro Toyoda stepped down from running the company and assumed the position of honorary chairman in 2009.
Only this week, Toyota Motor Corporation announced Shoichiro Toyoda's son, Akio, would assume the role of chairman, and that operational role of the world's biggest carmaker would be taken over by Koji Sato.
Last year, for the third year in a row, Toyota was the the world's biggest vehicle maker, with 10.483 million vehicles sold including its Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino trucks. It also has significant shareholdings in other companies, too, such as Subaru.
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