Toyota Material Handling U.S.A. (TMHU), commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first Toyota forklift sold in the U.S. with a special event for dealers, associates, dignitaries and media at its U.S. forklift headquarters in Columbus, Indiana. The company sold its first U.S. forklift to a grape farmer in Fresno, California, in 1967. Fifty years later, Toyota proudly displays that forklift at its Columbus campus as a reminder to visitors of the brand’s quality and longevity.
To mark the golden anniversary, Toyota associates custom-designed, engineered and built a gold-painted forklift, which was unveiled at the milestone ceremony on August 30, 2017. Toyota will plant 50 cherry blossom trees on its Columbus campus and donate 50 more cherry blossom trees to the city of Columbus. Cherry blossom trees are the national flower of Japan, home of TMHU’s parent company, Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO). In addition to the trees, Toyota presented the Columbus Department of Parks and Recreation with 50 youth scholarships for those in need. “Fifty years represents a golden achievement in the U.S. and today we honored the associates, the dealers, our suppliers and the community who supported TMHU’s journey to this major milestone,” said Brett Wood, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America. “This ceremony underscored our legacy here in the U.S., but it was also designed to give a glimpse into the future of Toyota Forklifts’ ongoing leadership and growth in the rapidly changing material handling and logistics industry.” Toyota Forklifts invited its 66 dealers representing more than 220 locations in the U.S. and Canada to join the festivities. Toyota’s vast network of professional dealers is often credited as a key ingredient in TMHU’s success. The dealers on hand at the event presented TMHU officials with a plaque of appreciation for the support and leadership provided to them over the previous five decades. To mark the milestone, TICO executives presented TMHU with a ceramic roof tile sculpture. The ancient roof tiles, called Kawara, are from the Takahama region of Japan, and signify the exceptional workmanship that is a recognized quality of all Toyota products. Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce, Jim Schillinger, addressed the crowd at the 50th anniversary ceremony and recognized TMHU for its sizable impact on Indiana’s economy. Columbus Mayor James Lienhoop also spoke and noted how Toyota Forklifts not only lifts the Columbus economy, but also lifts our country’s material handling industry. The event wrapped up with a keynote address from legendary Indiana basketball coach, Bobby Knight.