Toyota Celebrates 50 Years of Forklift Sales in Australia


National forklift distributor Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has recently celebrated 50 years of Toyota forklift sales in Australia with a series of golden anniversary functions that kicked off in Sydney earlier this year.

Toyota sold its first forklift in Australia in 1968 and now holds almost 40 per cent of the Australian market.

Highlight of the golden anniversary celebrations was a function at the Shangri-La Hotel and Sydney Harbour dinner cruise – attended by senior Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) executives, TMHA management, the consul-general of Japan in Sydney Keizo Takawaka, Toyota Group guests and major fleet customers.

Speakers included TMHA chairman Tom Nakazawa, TICO Senior Managing Officer Toshifumi Onishi and newly appointed TMHA President Steve Takacs, with guest presentations by sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington, “altruistic marketer” Peter Sharp and McGrath Foundation President Glenn McGrath.

Mr Takacs thanked all TMHA customers and paid tribute to the former Toyota forklift dealers who contributed to the 50th anniversary being realised.

Mr Nakazawa said Australia is an important player globally for TICO, with Toyota Material Handling Australia’s sales holding the number eight position in the world for overall Toyota forklift sales.

“This is an outstanding achievement, considering the smaller population in Australia compared to the many countries it has outranked,” he said.

TMHA now has 17 branches and 750 staff, the majority in product support roles and has flagged continued expansion, including a new branch recently opened in Toowoomba.

Toyota forklifts have come a long way since the first rugged and dependable 5LR models imported into Australia in 1968.

A water-shed moment occurred in 1999 with the launch of the 7-Series forklifts which featured Toyota’s world-first System of Active Stability, a computer-controlled stability device protected by over 300 patents and developed in with technology from Toyota’s automotive division. It was not only ground-breaking technologically, but a true innovation in improving forklift productivity and efficiency, and most importantly enhancing operator safety.

The magnificent 8-Series has built upon the legacy of the Toyota 7-Series and become the leading counter-balance forklift model in Australia.

Toyota’s counter-balance forklift models have been Australia’s number one consecutively since 1987, representing 31 years of undisputed market dominance. To date, more than 50,000 Toyota forklifts have been sold into the Australia market.

The company is continuously adding new products to its portfolio, with the latest additions being industrial sweepers and scrubbers, lift platforms, and more exciting new products to be added later this year.

In terms of the overall material-handling market, TMHA sees continued expansion in the driverless forklift range and automation markets.

Other events to mark the golden anniversary milestone included the Megatrans and Hire 18 exhibitions earlier in the year in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively, and will culminate with a major presence at the National Construction Equipment Convention in Sydney this November.