Toyota has been synonymous with excellence and performance in the world of car manufacturing due to their chequered history. This Japanese multinational corporation has produced iconic car models over the years and has become one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the whole world.
Before their successes, Toyota Motor Company was spearheaded in 1933 by Kiichiro Toyoda as an offshoot of Toyoda Automatic Loom Company, a Japanese machine maker established by his father Sachiki Toyoda. Production started in 1934 when the company's first Type A Engine was used in their car and truck manufacturing.
Instead of using Toyoda as their company name, they decided to use Toyota instead for several reasons. One, the change meant the separation of the founders' personal life from work life. Two, Toyota was easier to pronounce. Lastly, the way Toyota is written using Japanese characters or katakana required eight brush strokes, which is for them a lucky number.
Toyota Motor Company became an independent company in 1937. However, efforts were focused in domestic vehicle production since the company was encouraged by the Japanese government because of its war against China and its economic problems during that time. As a result, the company became a more prolific manufacturer of trucks and buses instead of phaetons and sedans. Because of the financial constraints, military trucks were made as simple as possible, with most of them having only one headlight located at the centre of the hood.
After the war, the company took up an education program from the United States Army that taught them production principles. This knowledge allowed them to produce the Model SA, also known as the Toyopet, which laid the groundwork that would become their first most popular car. The SA was a cheaply made and designed to endure the rough terrain of post-war Japan. However, the SF Toyopet, a taxi version with a modified engine, was a vast improvement over its predecessor. The company also produced a civilian truck that was similar to Dodge and Bantam called Land Cruiser.
Toyota established a plant in Brazil, its first outside Japan. This began their quest to pursue localization of their designs and production to the plant where it is situated, which is their way to create better ties with the international market. The Toyota Corona PT20, produced in 1964, was the first car to be treated with an American name, the Tiara. The international market desired the Corona, a comfortable six-passenger car with a 90-gross horsepower engine, from selling 2,000 models in 1964, to a whopping 71,000 in 1968. Sales boosted the company's ranking as one of the richest non-American companies in the world, from 93rd in 1963, to 47th in 1966. The company's prestige glimmered brighter in 1968 with the release of the Crown, known for its comfortable interiors and smooth ride.
The Corona pitched fairly competitively against the highly-popular Volkswagen Beetle. Still, there was a minor problem with the Corona as it rusted quickly, even before it was old enough to experience mechanical deficiencies.
Still, the success of the company was so undeniable that it was awarded with its first Japanese Quality Control Award in the early '70s. Also, the 1973 oil crisis further proved the quality of Japanese cars. American car manufacturer were forced to produce cheap cars made of substandard quality, but Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota and Nissan maintained high quality of production to their small fuel-efficient cars.
The '90s saw the company return to producing luxurious cars which aim to branch out to younger consumers. The Camry Solera and the Scion brand are sporty automobiles that are reasonably affordable.
Today, Toyota is the world's largest automaker by sales revenue in the first quarter of this year. Aside from that, Toyota is the eighth largest company by revenue in the world by 2006, boasts a net income of around $11 million, and revenue of $179 billion. Numbers aside, Toyota thrived in simply giving what consumers want, a car with the best driving experience possible.
Original Authors: Manny
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 25/06/2007