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Toyota celebrates 50 years of forklift manufacture

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Toyota, the world's leading material handling brand, has celebrated 50 years' forklift manufacturing.

The corporation's first commercial forklift model, the Toyota Forklift LA, was launched in Japan in March 1956.

Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) is now the world's largest manufacturer of material handling equipment.

An industry-leading commitment to research and development has allowed TICO to unveil new products and services every year since 1956.

The golden anniversary celebrations include publication of a special commemorative book detailing its history as well as its new goals for the future.

Celebrating 50 years of Toyota Forklifs gives an insight into the development of the forklift and of the company itself.

TICO commenced exports of forklift trucks in 1958 and sold its first forklift in Australia in 1968.

It has led the Australian counter-balance forklift market continuously for 19 years with over 45,000 Toyota Industrial Equipment units being sold since Australian operations began.

Toyota Industries Corporation Australia (TICA) president and chief executive officer Steve Harper said the 50-year anniversary was a tribute to the vision and ingenuity of Toyota people and their drive to put the customer first.

"Toyota thinks strategically about the needs of a huge range of manufacturing or warehousing operations - about how to help them improve productivity and how to optimise conditions so forklift operators are comfortable and efficient," he said.

"These issues are at the heart of what TICO does as a forklift manufacturer. Without thinking about the end-user we would not be the company we are.

"The Toyota way of working and thinking is critical in this process. The company is respected the world over for the Toyota Production System, which inspires team members to optimise quality, constantly improve processes and eliminate natural waste," Mr Harper said.

"In Australia, Toyota Material Handling is stronger than ever before. The integration of the Toyota warehousing brands of BT and Raymond is complete and the platform to provide the most comprehensive range of products offering industry best material handling solutions is well established. This is supported by comprehensive customer support systems that aim at the optimal level of customer satisfaction. Innovative, high quality assessment programmes such as ASEC (After Sales Evaluation and Certification) and STEP (Service Technician Education Programme) mean that customer service is kept to the highest standard and at the core of our support activities.

For the next 50 years, Toyota has a very clear goal with the environment playing a central part in this goal. Helping to minimise some of the ecological problems of the world and delivering even more innovative and environmentally friendly solutions are vital to the company.

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