Design History

Toyota’s history begins with Sakichi Toyoda’s foundation of a Spinning and Weaving Company in 1918. However, product design was not acknowledged as a discipline until much later. Today, it is a dynamic field and an integral part of the evolving material handling industry.


The '60s-'70s:
The Pioneers

Reputed names have shaped our pallet trucks and forklifts from the beginning right up until the present. From visionary designers of the ‘60s and ‘70s like Rune Monö (a Swedish designer who also created trains, scooters and consumer products) to Masao Fujita (the Japanese designer behind the first Toyota Celica), our trucks’ designs have never ceased to evolve, continuously taking material handling to the next level.


The '70s-'80s:
The Human Dimension

Following the ’reverse thinking’ philosophy, Toyota creates with the customer in mind – always ready to respond to people’s needs in every industry. During the 1970s our Toyota design became more ergonomic and user-friendly, leading to the first iF award for outstanding ergonomics in 1982.


The '80s-'90s:
The Car Design

We want the forklift to offer the same driving satisfaction as a highly comfortable and safe car. This is why we often involve leading car design agencies and designers to build on our material handling solutions. In the ‘90s, Pininfarina, Bertone, Walter da Silva, Formtech and Frog Design brought tremendous contribution.


The In-House Design

Activity started at Toyota Material Handling Group in 1986 with Yoshitaka Sato, former Toyota car designer, and at European level in 2006 with Magnus Oliveira Andersson. With over 20 international design awards, the in-house design centers in Japan and Sweden rely on strong heritage to create trucks for the future.