Son of Toyota

toyodaToday, Shoichiro Toyoda spoke at the Woodrow Wilson Center International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. This is right in our backyard, so we made the haul down to Das Capital to see what the son of Toyota Motor Corporation founder Kiichiro Toyoda had to say.

Much of the speech centered on the Toyota Production System, the company’s US plants, and US-Japan relations. We’ll spare you the details. An interesting anecdote emerged, however. In 1957, Toyota debuted the Toyopet Crown in the US, where it completely failed to impress the car-buying public. Curious, Dr. Toyoda took two Crowns for a drive on American roads. The power-to-weight ratio was so horrid, he couldn’t even merge safely onto the highway if the on-ramp sloped uphill. The future Honorary Chairman of one of the biggest auto manufacturers on Earth was forced to drive around until he found a downhill ramp. True to the TPS, he returned to Japan with his research, and eventually gave us the modern ‘Yotas that can get up inclines with no problemo.

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