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Shoichiro Toyoda, a humble car fan who set stage for Toyota's global rise

The founder's son negotiated automobile deal with U.S. to bring down trade tensions

Shoichiro Toyoda, a car enthusiast, test-drove new models even into his later years.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- He was the head of Toyota Motor. He led Japan's most powerful business lobby.

But contrary to his glittering resume, Shoichiro Toyoda was at heart a "car guy," an engineer who just loved automobiles. He disliked showing off but had a keen sense for what was needed from him in each role.

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