Toyota’s First U.S. Plant


    Press-Telegram – Toyota's Long Beach roots:

    Here's an article about Toyota's first U.S. plant, where they finished trucks in California:

    “Back in the early 1970s, the company's Japanese executives were wary of American production capabilities. The plant here served as a sort of guinea pig.

    ‘It was a little bit of a test of cost efficiency and quality for Toyota (executives), but it ultimately gave them a great deal of confidence in expanding throughout the country,' said Irv Miller, vice president for Toyota U.S. motor sales.

    The plant survived, and today stands as one of the last solid auto manufacturing sites in a region that has seen its manufacturing workforce dramatically downsized, outsourced and sent overseas.”

    The article says that the plant was started only because of some government regulation designed to reduce imports. I wonder how long it would have taken Toyota to try doing assembly work in the U.S. without that legislation? Does that go down in history as unintended consequences? Or, I assume it's a good thing that Toyota has continued to open plants to this day (and into the future).

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. My dad is something of an auto history expert, having written a few books and articles over the years, given presentations at the Henry Ford Museum, and so forth. Back in the early 1980s he was called to testify in what we called “The Toyota Trial.” His expertise, and extensive personal history library, were put on the stand to define what a chassic cab was for the purposes of import laws. I don’t remember the details, except that for about a year we had a copying machine in our basement and dad spent night after night copying car catalogs and books for the lawyers. He also spent a week in New York City for the trial!
      Could it be that my own father played a role in bringing Toyota plants to North America??


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