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News Releases

Governor Tomblin attends luncheon with Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda

Toyota Honorary Chairman praises West Virginia's workforce and business climate

TOYOTA CITY, JAPAN - Gov. Tomblin today attended a private luncheon with Toyota Honorary Chairman Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda and Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia President Millie Marshall at Toyota's headquarters. Dr. Toyoda praised the Toyota's West Virginia plant, located in Buffalo, calling the facility's high level of quality a significant factor in Toyota's U.S. success.

Dr. Toyoda, who developed Toyota's widely hailed quality control process and spearheaded the company's push into the U.S. market, was Toyota's president from 1982 to 1992 and chairman from 1992 to 1999. As chairman, he led the 1996 decision to build a plant in West Virginia.

At today's luncheon, Dr. Toyoda reflected on that choice, describing it as a big decision that has become a tremendous success. He praised the Buffalo plant workforce as "hard working" and "highly skilled," and lauded the improvements in West Virginia's business climate since the plant opened.

"It's an honor to be able to spend time with a legendary businessman like Dr. Toyoda," Gov. Tomblin said. "Our state's relationship with Toyota is a wonderful and valuable partnership, and we look forward to continuing it for many years to come."

Gov. Tomblin is currently leading a trade mission to Japan, meeting with existing business partners and prospects while also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the state's Nagoya office.

Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda joined Toyota Motor Corporation in July 1952. He became managing director in 1961, and after promotions to senior managing director in 1967 and executive vice president in 1972, he was named president of Toyota's sales organization in 1981. Upon the merger of the sales and production organizations in 1982, he assumed the presidency of the newly integrated Toyota Motor Corporation and later served as chairman of the board from 1992 to 1999.

After serving on the board for 57 years, Dr. Toyoda now serves as honorary chairman, a position he has held since June 1999. Dr. Toyoda has been a loyal friend to West Virginia for many years.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia has invested more than .4 billion in West Virginia since opening in 1998. The company, which initially hired 300 employees, now employs 1,500 West Virginians. The West Virginia facility has seen eight expansions and was recognized in 2013 as the company's first plant outside of Japan to produce more than 10 million powertrain units. The Buffalo plant produces 750,000 transmissions and 600,000 four- and six-cylinder engines a year.