On this day in auto history – March 27th

Sat 27th Mar 2021

It was on was this same day in 1952 that Japan lost two of its most influential motoring figures - Jujiro Matsuda and Kiichiro Toyoda - de facto founders of Mazda and Toyota respectively.

Born in 1875, Hiroshima-born Matsuda acquired huge riches in the early 1900’s when his fledgling foundry company was commissioned as a supplier to the Tsar of Russia before going on to manufacture weapons for the Japanese military.

By the 1930’s he’d branched out into motor manufacturing and, though his company headquarters experienced heavy damage in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, the company recovered to expand massively under the stewardship of Matsuda’s son-in-law, Tsunejii Matsuda.

Meanwhile, Toyoda - heir of a wealthy Japanese inventor and industrialist - established the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1937 but resigned as president in 1950 due to flagging sales and profitability, passing away at the age of 57 just two years later.

It wasn’t until the baton was passed to Toyoda’s cousin and confidant, Elji Toyoda, in 1957 that Toyota began to spring to profitability and worldwide prominence, eventually becoming the world’s largest car manufacturer!