Though long retired, Eiji Toyoda continued to have an influence on Japan’s biggest automaker right up to his death at 100.
Indeed, it was during his time leading Toyota Motor Co. that the automaker transformed itself from an ambitious, Japanese wannabe into a true, global force that would eventually overcome powerful competitors like General Motors to become the world’s largest automotive manufacturer.
While running the company founded by his cousin – originally as a loom maker – Eiji Toyoda helped create the “Toyota Way,” a hyper-efficient manufacturing system that many of those competitors today have copied in a bid to catch up to the Japanese giant.
“We mourn the loss of automotive pioneer Eiji Toyoda, whose contributions and leadership helped make Toyota what it is today,” said the automaker in a notice on its media site.
Toyoda’s death came five days after he marked his 100th birthday. He was being treated at the Toyota Memorial Hospital, in Toyota City, a medical facility originally founded in 1938 to treat company workers.