Apart from founding the Toyota Motor Company, one of the most important achievements of Kiichiro Toyoda is the creation of the renowned Toyota Production System.
Opening Up to the World
Driven by the need to maximize production using minimum means and achieving the highest possible quality and reliability, Kiichiro developed the “Just-in-Time” principle, a philosophy that has allowed Toyota to reduce the stock of parts needed in production and to manufacture no more than the exact quantity of pre-ordered vehicles with minimum waste. This approach became a key factor in Toyota’s development, reflecting the company’s long-term commitment to people’s wellbeing and to the preservation of the natural world. Since its creation, the Toyota Production System has become an unsurpassable model for the automotive industry worldwide, thanks to it being conducive to continual improvement, worker loyalty, and superior quality.
Toyota rose from the ashes of the postwar industrial collapse in Japan to become the biggest domestic automaker, with a share of over 40% on the local market. In 1980, the number of vehicles manufactured by Toyota reached the 30 million mark, rising to 100 million at the turn of the century.
At the end of the 1950s, Toyota began to expand to foreign markets, in addition to catering to Japanese customers. The first Toyota Crown models reached the United States in 1957. By 1965, such models as the Corolla helped Toyota build a solid reputation for excellent customer service, achieve high consumer satisfaction scores, and record sales on par with figures registered by local carmakers. In 2004, Toyota car sales in the United States surpassed the two million mark, while 1.4 million cars and almost 1.3 million engines were manufactured in America.
On to Europe
The first Toyota cars officially imported into Europe arrived in Denmark in 1963. Ever since, Toyota’s share of the European automotive market has been growing steadily, despite its discerning, complex nature. In 2006, the number of cars imported into Europe reached the 15 million mark, as Toyota registered record-high sales for a tenth year in a row. Toyota follows a philosophy of localizing its vehicles to suit the diverse demands of European drivers. Thus, the company’s operations in Europe, including research and development, production, and marketing, are adapted to the specifics of the locality for which they are intended.
Toyota has been able to cash in on this concept, having built an unassailable reputation thanks to unsurpassed reliability, customer service, and overall consumer satisfaction.
Toyota’s continuing expansion in Europe is underscored by the recent construction and launch of its ninth European production plant in St. Petersburg, Russia.