Before Toyota and General Motors agreed in 1983 to create New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, Calif., Toyota explored a joint venture with Ford Motor Co.
Sasumu Yanagisawa was a central player in the talks with Ford and then GM.
Yanagisawa, a fluent English speaker, was hired in 1958 as Toyota began its export push into the United States, and was manager of the Americas section from 1971-83. In the mid-1960s, he was the personal interpreter for Eiji Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Co.
Yanagisawa later wrote a book about the Ford and GM negotiations, at Eiji Toyoda's urging. That book was never translated into English.
To fill the gap, Yanagisawa, 74, spoke with James B. Treece about the failed talks with Ford. Here is his story.