Akio Toyoda paid tribute to his father's unwavering commitment to the brand and what its founder stood for.
Shoichiro Toyoda is now part of the Japanese Automotive Hall of Fame. Toyota Motor Corporation's former honorary chairman was inducted into the prestigious organization with a ceremony held in Tokyo on November 14. Toyoda passed away this year at 97 from heart failure.
The Japanese Automotive Hall of Fame is an organization that honors and preserves the achievements of those who helped develop the nation's automotive industry. It also honors those who have contributed to creating a thriving automobile society in Japan, and considering that Toyota has sold over 300 million cars, it's fair to say that this induction was certainly deserved.
Shoichiro Toyoda was responsible for introducing the Toyota brand to North America, which is one of the brand's most important markets. He was also instrumental in bringing the Lexus nameplate to the world and helped bring in the age of hybridization with the Toyota Prius.
According to in-house magazine Toyota Times, Shoichiro Toyoda was inducted into the organization for his hard work in "overcoming numerous managerial challenges to build Toyota Motor Corporation into a global company and helping turn Japan into the world's foremost automotive superpower." He was also devoted to nurturing talent, believing that monozukuri is about developing people.
Monozukuri roughly translates to "production" or "making things," with its broader meaning covering Japanese know-how and manufacturing practices.
At the induction ceremony, his son and the current Chairman, Akio Toyoda, delivered an acceptance speech encompassing his father's career as a Toyota leader and engineer dedicated to his craft, saying that he embodied Kaizen, which roughly translates to "continuous improvement," always looking to create something even better. He also remembered his late father as someone who personified the dream, vision, and spirit of the company founder's goal to "make Japan a prosperous nation."
Toyota has been at the forefront of technology, and if its latest solid-state batteries are as good as they appear, that vision will continue to be manifested for many years to come.