Toyota celebrates 30 years of forklift manufacturing

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Jeff Rufener

COLUMBUS, Indiana –Toyota Material Handling (TMH) is commemorating its 30th anniversary of manufacturing lifting equipment in the United States this year.

Toyota Forklifts began its domestic manufacturing operations at its Columbus-based plant in 1990. Since then, more than 700,000 forklifts have been produced using the Toyota Production System (TPS) and waste-eliminating principles of Toyota Lean Management (TLM) at the 1.5 million square foot facility.

“For 30 years, Toyota Forklifts have been assembled in America’s heartland. This anniversary would never have been possible without the tireless efforts and dedication of our associates, dealers, and suppliers,” said Jeff Rufener, TMH president and CEO.

“This year, as we reflect on where we’ve come from, we are filled with optimism and look forward to the next 30 years.”

First Toyota lift trucks out side of Japan

In 1990, the company formerly known as Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, Inc (TIEM) became the first Toyota lift truck manufacturing plant outside of Japan. Since the first forklift rolled off the line Toyota has steadily gained in the US market to achieve and maintain the rank of the number one lift truck brand since 2002.

The Indiana facility has the capability to manufacture a wide range of industrial equipment used in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments. They include: three-wheel and four-wheel electric lift trucks, internal combustion cushion tire and pneumatic tire lift trucks, diesel tow tractors and DC/AC inverter assemblies for the Toyota Tacoma.

In January 2019, Toyota Forklift’s business units, Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) and Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU), announced plans to formally integrate the two companies into a single business unit. The integration was completed in January 2020 under the new name, Toyota Material Handling, Inc. (TMH).

The move combines Toyota’s forklift manufacturing operations with its sales, marketing, and distribution functions.