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Eiji Toyoda, Who Steered Toyota's Rise, Dies at 100

Sept. 17, 2013
"With Mr Toyoda, the company became a global player with production in other developed countries," a company spokesman said. "He initiated that expansion."

TOKYO -- Eiji Toyoda, a member of Toyota's founding family who oversaw the automaker's global ascent and helped drive a revolutionary production process, died today at the age of 100, the company said.

Toyoda, a cousin of the automaker's founder, died of heart failure less than a week after becoming a centenarian.

He joined the company in 1936 and became Toyota's president in 1967 when he spearheaded a push for mass production of cars, notably its Corolla brand, using a just-in-time production system that aimed to cut waste and improve efficiency.

Toyoda's tenure saw the firm's sales overseas soar, helping turn it into what is now the world's number-one automaker.

"With Mr Toyoda, the company became a global player with production in other developed countries," a company spokesman said. "He initiated that expansion."

Stepping down from his role as president in 1982, Toyoda was chairman until 1992 before finishing his nearly half-century career two years later.

Born in the central city of Nagoya, Toyoda was also a nephew of Toyota Group founder Sakichi Toyoda.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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