released on September 2002
Founder of Toyota Motor Corporation
In March 1930, fresh from a study of auto plants in the United States and Europe, Kiichiro Toyoda set aside a corner of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works plant for his research, gathered his engineers together and began working on a small gasoline engine. The transition from looms to automobiles came from Kiichiro's own "most sincere effort", but it was not easy. He soon found even this initial step involved constant trial and error, as the research staff confronted problem after problem. However, they persevered, and the first prototype, the Model A1 passenger car, was completed in May 1935.
Before the launch of the Model AA, the company ran a contest for a new Toyoda logo. There were more than 20,000 entries. In the new logo, "Toyoda" became "Toyota." Kiichiro's dream of producing a passenger car was realized with the launch of the Model AA in September 1936. In October, the Model AA was renamed "the Kokusan Toyota Goh," or "the domestically produced Toyota." It became the first automobile to use the Toyota brand name.
In August 1937, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. was established, and construction of a new mass production plant began in September in Koromo-cho, an area that was eventually renamed Toyota City. The entire project was completed in September 1938.
At a private opening ceremony for the Koromo Plant on November 3, 1938, Kiichiro pledged his commitment to building a great automobile industry. While addressing the officers and employees of the then-young Toyota Motor Co., Ltd., he encouraged everyone to fulfill their own responsibilities for themselves and for the good of the company: "Neglect your duties, and you'll bring ruin upon yourselves; fulfill your responsibilities, and you'll find yourselves enhanced. If each person makes the most sincere effort in his assigned position, the entire company can achieve great things."
Everything we do at Toyota is a chain of processes. As members of Team Toyota, we must make the chain of Toyota strong. We do this as we seek to understand and own the process and continuously work to improve the overall flow. It is through teamwork and caring for our teammates that we keep the links together. Our diversity with a common purpose is what maintains the strength of these links. If we follow Kiichiro's wise counsel and do our work with "the most sincere effort," the links that make up the Toyota chain will always remain strong and never break.
Model AA, 1936
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