Eiji Toyoda has passed away aged 100
One of Toyoda's many achievements was overseeing development of the Toyota Corolla
Toyota's longest-serving chief executive, Eiji Toyoda, has died aged 100.
Toyoda, cousin of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda, served as president of the company from 1967 to 1982, steering the firm to become the world's largest car manufacturer.
Among his key achievements was leading the development of the Toyota Corolla in 1966, and in 1983 taking the decision to push Toyota into the luxury car market. The success found there culminated in the creation of the Lexus brand in 1989.
He was also instrumental in pioneering the 'Toyota way' - a method of producing cars with as little waste as possible that has been imitated around the globe.
Toyoda is reported to have been inspired by a visit to a Michigan-based Ford factory in 1950, and learning about mass production. Impressed by the use of US materials and machinery, he retuned home to improve Toyota's manufacturing methods.
Toyoda also served as chairman of Toyota until 1994, and remained an honorary advisor to the company.
He died earlier today of a heart attack. At the time of his death, he was being treated in a hospital founded by Toyota as a factory clinic in 1938.