Toyota South

Nearly 100 kids have a fresh set of wheels, thanks to Toyota.
by Kaitlin Pennell
Sept/Oct 2016
Nearly 100 kids have a fresh set of wheels, thanks to Toyota.

In an effort to support local foster children programs, Toyota South in Richmond, Ky., recently welcomed team members from the nearby Toyota manufacturing plant to set up assembly lines in the dealership. But they weren’t building cars. They were assembling bicycles for children.


Building Better, Together
Toyota South transformed into an assembly line where volunteers from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, the dealership and the community built bikes for foster kids.
Toyota South and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, teamed with the Kentucky Foster/Adoptive Care Association, the Toyota Christian Fellowship and KVC Kentucky—a nonprofit child welfare and behavioral healthcare organization—to make one bicycle for every vehicle sold at the dealership in May. Volunteers built a total of 95 bikes in just over two hours.

Naturally, the Toyota Production System was in full force. Manufacturing team members made suggestions as the day went on, making the assembly line even more efficient.

“It goes to show that TPS can be implemented anywhere to make anything,” says TMMK Mechanical Engineering Specialist Blair Perkins. “It was cool to the see bikes come off the line, and it was a privilege to be a part of it.”

Toyota South Dealer Principal Steve Gates was surprised by the efficiency of the assembly lines.

“It’s almost indescribable. I couldn’t believe we did it,” Gates says. “It was a great idea, but you think, ‘Oh, this just can’t work the way we think it will.’ But we pulled it off. If it weren’t for TMMK, we’d still be here building the bicycles.”

Gates and his dealership have been involved in various fundraising and donation events for the community in the past, but this event was different for Gates.

“All areas of Toyota came together to get involved for a cause that’s kind of forgotten,” he says.  

However, even as Gates spoke about the assembly, the best part was yet to come, as the children received their brand new bikes on June 26.

“The most exciting part was giving out the bikes to the kids,” says Gates. “We are all more aware of foster children now. This event impacted every one of us.”
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