Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota Jido-sha Kabushiki-gaisha), or Toyota for short, is a Japanese multinational automaker.
The Toyota Motor Corporation was founded or established on 28 August 1937 when Toyoda Automatic Loom created a new division devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder's son, Kiichiro Toyoda. Soon thereafter, the division produced its first Type A Engine in 1934, which was used in the first Model A1 passenger car in May 1935 and the G1 truck in August 1935. Production of the Model AA passenger car started in 1936. Early vehicles bear a striking resemblance to the Dodge Power Wagon and Chevrolet, with some parts actually interchanging with their American originals. The company was founded in 1933 by Kiichiro Toyoda as an offshoot of Toyoda Automatic Loom Company, under the encouragement of the Japanese government, which needed domestic vehicle production partly due to the worldwide money shortage and partly due to the war with China.
Although the Toyota Group is best known today for its cars, it is still in the textile business and still makes automatic looms, which are now fully computerized, and electric sewing machines which are available worldwide.
Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent and separate company in 1937. Although the founding family name is Toyoda, the company name was changed in order to signify the separation of the founders' work life from home life, to simplify the pronunciation, and to give the company a happy beginning. Toyota is considered luckier than Toyoda in Japan, where eight is regarded as a lucky number, and eight is the number of strokes it takes to write Toyota in katakana. In Chinese, the company and its vehicles are still referred to by the equivalent characters (Traditional Chinese: Simplified Chinese: pinyin: fe-ng tián), with Chinese reading.
During the Pacific War (World War II) the company was dedicated to truck production for the Imperial Japanese Army. Because of severe shortages in Japan, military trucks were kept as simple as possible. For example, the trucks had only one headlight on the center of the hood. The war ended shortly before a scheduled Allied bombing run on the Toyota factories in Aichi.
After the war, commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. The quality and production principles on which Toyota is based originated in an education program from the United States Army in the postwar era. In 1950 a separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co., was established (which lasted until July 1982). In April 1956 the Toyopet dealer chain was established. The following year, the Toyota Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota's American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brazil S.A., were also established. Toyota began to expand in the 1960s with a new research and development facility, a presence in Thailand was established, the 10 millionth model was produced, a Deming Prize and partnerships with Hino Motors and Daihatsu were also established. The first Toyota built outside Japan was in April 1963, at Port Melbourne in Australia. By the end of the decade, Toyota had established a worldwide presence, as the company had exported its one-millionth unit.
The Toyota Motor Company was awarded its first Japanese Quality Control Award at the start 1970s and began participating in a wide variety of Motorsports. Due to the 1973 oil crisis consumers in the lucrative U.S. market began turning to small cars with better fuel economy. American car manufacturers had considered small economy cars to be an "entry level" product, and their small vehicles were not made to a high level of quality in order to keep the price low. Japanese customers, however, had a long-standing tradition of demanding small fuel-efficient cars that were manufactured to a high level of quality. Because of this, companies like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan established a strong and growing presence in North America in the 1970s.
In 1982, the Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales merged into one company, the Toyota Motor Corporation. Two years later, Toyota entered into a joint venture with GM called NUMMI, the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc, operating an automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. The factory was an old General Motors plant that had been closed for several years. Toyota then started to establish new brands at the end of the 1980s, with the launch of their luxury division Lexus in 1989.
In the 1990s Toyota began to branch out from producing mostly compact cars by adding many larger and more luxurious vehicles to its lineup, including a full sized pickup, the T100 (and later the Toyota Tundra), several lines of SUVs, a sport version of the Camry, known as the Camry Solara, and the Scion brand, a group of several affordable, yet sporty, automobiles targeted specifically to young adults. Toyota also began production of the world's best selling hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, in 1997.
With a major presence with Europe, due to the success of Toyota Team Europe, the corporation decided to set up TMME, Toyota Motor Europe Marketing & Engineering, to help market vehicles in the continent. Two years later, Toyota set up a base in the United Kingdom, TMUK, as the company's cars had become very popular among British drivers. Bases in Indiana, Virginia and Tianjin were also set up. In 1999, the company decided to list itself on the New York and London Stock Exchange.
In 2001, Toyota's Toyo Trust and Banking merged to form the UFJ, United Financials of Japan, which was accused of corruption by the Japan's government for making bad loans to alleged Yakuza crime syndicates with executives accused of blocking Financial Service Agency inspections. The UFJ was listed among Fortune Magazine's largest money-losing corporations in the world, with Toyota's chairman serving as a director. At the time, the UFJ was one of the largest shareholders of Toyota. As a result of Japan's banking crisis, the UFJ was merged again to become Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
In 2002, Toyota managed to enter a Formula One works team and establish joint ventures with French motoring companies Citroën and Peugeot, a year after Toyota started producing cars in France.
On December 7, 2004, a U.S. press release was issued stating that Toyota would be offering Sirius Satellite Radios. However, as late as Jan. 27, 2007, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite radio kits were not available for Toyota factory radios. While the press release enumerated nine models, only limited availability existed at the dealer level in the U.S. Major Lexus dealerships have been offering satellite radio kits for Lexus vehicles since 2005, in addition to factory-equipped satellite radio models.
In 2007, Toyota released an update of its full size truck, the Toyota Tundra, produced in two American factories, one in Texas and one in Indiana, and "Motor Trend" named the 2007 Toyota Camry "Car of the Year" for 2007. It also began the construction of two new factories, one to build the Toyota Rav4 in Woodstock, Ontario and the other to build the Toyota Highlander in Blue Springs, Mississippi.
The first Toyota brand was the eponymous Toyota, which remains the best selling of Toyota's brands. Sales of Toyota branded vehicles have given Toyota Motor Corporation a 45% domestic market share in Japan, higher than any other manufacturer. In North America, Toyota has achieved success with a full lineup of cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles. In particular, the Toyota Camry has been America's best-selling car for the past five years, and is assembled in Kentucky; the Toyota Corolla has been the second best-selling car for 2006, and is assembled in Cambridge, Ontario Canada, as well as Fremont, California. These vehicles have helped drive sales of the Toyota brand in the United States. Total U.S. sales reached 2,220,090 units in 2006, making the brand third overall in U.S. sales for the first time in history.
• 4Runner (mid-size SUV)
• Allion (lower mid-size sedan)
• Alphard (full-size MPV)
• Aurion (full-size sedan)
• Auris (compact car)
• Avalon (full-size sedan)
• Avensis (mid-size sedan and wagon)
• Aygo (city car)
• Caldina (mid-size wagon)
• Camry (upper mid-size sedan)
• Celica (Sports)
• Century (full-size upper luxury sedan)
• Coaster (mini bus)
• Corolla/Altis (compact car)
• Crown (full-size luxury sedan)
• Dyna (commercial light truck)
• Estima/Tarago/Previa (minivan)
• FJ Cruiser (compact 4x4)
• Hiace (commuter and commercial van)
• Highlander (mid-size SUV)
• Hilux/Tacoma (mid-size pickup)
• Ipsum (mid-size MPV)
• Isis (Large MPV)
• Land Cruiser (full-size 4x4)
• MR2 (Mid-engined Sports Roadster)
• Mark X (mid-size sporty sedan)
• Matrix (compact crossover wagon)
• Prius (hatchback - hybrid flagship)
• Probox (small wagon)
• Progres (mid-size luxury sedan)
• RAV4 (compact SUV)
• Sequoia (full-size SUV)
• Sienna (minivan, N. America)
• Sienta (compact MPV)
• Solara (Camry-based coupe, N. America)
• Supra (Sports)
• Soluna/Vios (subcompact car, S.E. Asia)
• Tundra (full-size pickup, N. America)
• WISH (compact MPV)
• Terien (mid-size pickup)
• Yaris (subcompact car)
• Fortuner (mid-size SUV)
• Hilux (mid-size pickup)
• Innova (minivan)
• Avanza (mini MPV)
Toyota is one of the largest companies that started pushing hybrid vehicles in the market and one of the first to mass commercially produce such vehicle, an example being the main Toyota Prius. Then it eventually started producing the main smaller cars such as Camry and then it eventually moved on to the Lexus divisions, producing some hybrid luxury vehicles. It labeled such technology in Toyota cars as "Hybrid Synergy Drive" and in Lexus versions as "Lexus Hybrid Drive."
The Prius has become the top selling hybrid car in America. Toyota now has three hybrid vehicles in its lineup (Prius, Highlander, & Camry). The popular minivan Toyota Sienna is supposed to join the hybrid lineup by 2010, and by 2030 Toyota plans to have its entire lineup of cars, trucks, and SUVs to have a Hybrid Synergy Drive option.
Lexus also has their own hybrid lineup, consisting of the GS 450h, RX 400h, and launched in 2007, the LS 600h/LS 600h L.
Toyota is doing plug-in hybrid vehicle (called Toyota Plug-in HV) road test in Japan with possible unveiling in fall 2007.According to the report, Toyota is testing a lithium-ion battery pack in the plug-in. Their strategy is to maintain Toyota's leading position in hybrid technology with the PHEV which has an even lower environmental impact than existing hybrids, competing for mass-production with GM Chevrolet Volt and Ford plug-in hybrids and V2G technology.
Toyota Racing Development was brought about to help develop true high performance racing parts for many Toyota vehicles. TRD has often had much success with their aftermarket tuning parts, as well as designing technology for vehicles used in all forms of racing.