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Toyota Material Handling USA hit a special milestone during 2017. The company has supplied the world’s finest forklifts and other industrial vehicles to businesses in the US for 50 years.
Fifty years is a long time for any business, especially one like Toyota which has consistently built one of the best-selling and most reliable forklifts in the industry. Toyota currently is the number one forklift in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
The first Toyota forklift was sold to a grape farmer in Fresno, California, in 1967. Since then, the company has been expanding its sales and building on its commitment to excellence in the materials handling industry, according to Brett Wood, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America.
“Fifty years represent a golden achievement in the US and to celebrate we honored the associates, dealers, our suppliers and the community who supported TMHU’s journey to this major milestone,” Wood said in a news release announcing the milestone. “This anniversary underscores our legacy here in the US, but also gives us a glimpse into the future of Toyota Forklifts’ ongoing leadership and growth in the rapidly changing material handling and logistics industry.”
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, in August Toyota invited its 66 dealers representing more than 220 locations in the US and Canada to its corporate headquarters in Columbus, Indiana. There they were surprised with a special gold-painted forklift that rolled off the assembly line to a round of cheers.
Every two and a half minutes, a new forklift rolls off the line at the plant. But this unique vehicle was specially designed by a team of engineers who used dozens of drawings and spent eight hours over two Saturdays to give the forklift its distinctive gold coloring. The paint job alone required nine coats of paint to give it the sparkle and shine it deserved.
Tour of the Facility
Dignitaries attending the celebration also were given a tour of Toyota’s manufacturing facility. The 1.3 million square foot building has three assembly lines going simultaneously, producing 67 base models and nearly 200 vehicles per day, which are shipped to more than 20 countries around the world.
The plant opened in 1990 and by 2012 Toyota was the No. 1 forklift brand in the US.
Throughout its history, the plant has undergone 13 separate expansions at a cost of $300 million. Most recently, Toyota announced a 150,000 square foot expansion that would invest $17.5 million into the facility.
Toyota currently is the city’s sixth-largest employer, with more than 1,400 employees.