TOKYO — Tatsuro Toyoda, whose short tenure as president of Toyota Motor Corp. in the 1990s was marked by health issues, died Dec. 30 of pneumonia, the company said. He was 88.
Tatsuro, the second son of founder Kiichiro Toyoda and uncle of current President Akio Toyoda, took the helm of the automaker in mid-1992 from elder brother Shoichiro, who piloted Toyota's rampant global expansion.
Shoichiro served as president for a decade, but Tatsuro lasted just three years.
The younger sibling stepped aside in 1995 after a prolonged hospitalization for what the company called hypertension and rumors said was a mild stroke.
During Tatsuro's difficult tenure as president, Toyota struggled with falling sales and a shrinking share in the Japanese market amid an economic downturn. Toyoda collapsed while attending a meeting of the Japan Automobile Dealers Association on Feb. 24, 1995, and remained hospitalized until resigning in August that year.
Hiroshi Okuda then became the first Toyota president from outside the family since 1967. Okuda was followed by two other nonfamily presidents, until Akio became president in 2009.
Before becoming head of the parent company, Tatsuro served as the first president of Toyota's pioneering joint-venture assembly plant with General Motors, the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. facility in Fremont, Calif., which began production in 1984.
The plant, Toyota's first experiment with auto manufacturing in the U.S., gave it confidence for future assembly plants in Georgetown, Ky., and beyond.
Tatsuro earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tokyo and received an MBA from New York University, where he studied under the famed quality-control guru W. Edwards Deming.
Most of his career was focused on overseas marketing. After stepping down as president, he served as vice chairman for several years.