When it comes to icons in the automotive business, there are few quiet people who have done volumes of work. Eiji Toyoda, a mechanical engineer, started in the family business which was a loom company back in 1936. Back then, the Automotive division of the loom company was just a small subsidiary. Toyoda helped foster its growth into one of the world’s largest and richest auto empires. I could not dig up any interesting facts about Eiji’s trials and tribulations during World War II, but we do know soon after he visited a Ford factory and returned to Japan inspired with ideas. He was president of the company in 1967-1982, but still remained active in Toyota after his presidency.
Toyoda was one the executives that was for creating the first electric and gasoline vehicle dubbed a ‘hybrid.’ And the first Prius was created.
Toyoda is Japan’s Henry Ford. It is a life and legacy worth remembering.
For further reading, here is his obituary from The New York Times: