Section 5. Wartime Research and Production
Item 11. Breakup and Consolidation of Companies
Toyota Shatai Kogyo Co., Ltd. established
In conjunction with the start of operations at the Koromo Plant in 1938, the Kariya vehicle assembly plant was converted to an auto body plant (the Kariya Plant) and mounted military truck bodies (cabs and decks).
Kiichiro Toyoda proposed the creation of an auto body plant. Iwao Tatematsu was responsible for the auto body plant at that time and recalled receiving the following instructions from Kiichiro:
Automobile manufacturing is not a highly profitable business. Even if the automotive industry is nationalized in the future, if we establish a separate autobody company, we will be able to retain the Toyota name. I want you not to go to Koromo and think about mass-producing bodies at this empty site.1
In 1940, the Model EA small passenger car chassis was manufactured in the electrical components plant and the wooden bodies were manufactured in the body plant woodwork shop at the Kariya Plant. In addition, development and the creation of prototypes of the Model EC compact electric vehicle and the Model BA electric vehicle were conducted at the Kariya Plant under the direct supervision of Kiichiro. The Kariya Plant and the Koromo Plant were operated separately, and were in effect separate companies. In about November 1940, a request was submitted to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to spin off the truck body department, but the request was denied.
Later, the nationalization of military industries that Kiichiro feared became a reality. On April 1, 1945, the Military Arsenal Government Regulations were promulgated, and on that day Nakajima Aircraft Company became Number 1 Military Arsenal, and Kawanishi Aircraft Company became Number 2 Military Arsenal on July 9.
On May 20, 1945 Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. again requested approval from the Ministry of Munitions2 to spin off its truck body department, and approval was received on June 19. The procedures were delayed because of the confusion caused by the end of the war on August 15, but they were completed by August 31, when Toyota Shatai Kogyo Co., Ltd. was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. The new company had its head office at Oike 1, Kariya-cho, Hekikai-gun (now Kariya City), Aichi Prefecture and was capitalized at nine million yen (of which 1.35 million yen was provided in-kind). Kiichiro Toyoda was appointed president and Iwao Tatematsu became a director.
Toyota Shatai Kogyo was renamed Kariya Shatai in December 1945, but it adopted its former name once again in June 1953. The company was the first autobody manufacturer affiliated with Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and later played a leading role amidst participation by numerous other autobody manufacturers. Toyota Shatai was one of the predecessor companies of today's Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.