TOKYO – Eiji Toyoda, a member of Toyota's founding family who helped create the super-efficient "Toyota Way" production method, has died. He was 100.
The automaker said Toyoda, a cousin of the Japanese automaker's founder Kiichiro Toyoda, died Tuesday of heart failure at Toyota Memorial Hospital in Toyota, central Japan.
Eiji Toyoda served as president from 1967 to 1982, engineering Toyota's growth into a global automaker. He continued in advisory positions up to his death.
He spent his early years on the shop floor, and helped pioneer Toyota's reputed just-in-time production to cut waste and empower workers for continuous improvement or "kaizen."
Toyoda is survived by his three sons, Kanshiro, Tetsuro and Shuhei, all executives at Toyota affiliates. A private family funeral is planned.