The Japanese have a bit of a weakness for mad badges. Hence, the current Toyota symbol that looks like a cowboy in a big hat, but is actually three elipses depicting the heart of the customer, the heart of the product, and the ever-expanding technological advancements and boundless opportunities that lie ahead.
(text from Car Magazine, July 1999. Written by Martin Buckley.)
Update: In July of 2006, Toyota outsold Ford in the US for the first time ever by more than 17,000 vehicles.
Origins in Toyota Automatic Loom - 1936.
The origins of the company are found as an automobile section of Toyoda Automatic Loom, implemented in September 1933. Quickly thereafter the section produced its first Type A Engine in 1934, used for the production of 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.
Establishment of Toyota Motor Co. and WWII 1936-1946.
Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent company in 1937. Although the founding family name is Toyoda, the company name was changed to:
-- Signify the separation of the founders' work life from home life;
-- Simplify the pronunciation, and
-- Give the company an auspicious beginning. Toyota is considered luckier than Toyoda due to the fact that eight is a lucky number, and is the number of strokes it takes to write Toyota in Katakana.
During the Pacific War the company was dedicated to truck production for the Imperial 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.
Fortunately for Toyota, the war ended shortly before a scheduled allied bombing run on the Toyota factories in Aichi.
Start of Commercial Production 1947-.
Commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. 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.
Today Toyota is one of the top car manufacturers with large market shares in both the US and Europe. It has a small car division, selling under the Daihatsu brand as well as a heavy vehicle division, selling under the Hino brand.
Toyota is Japan's biggest car company and second largest in the world (the largest being America's General Motors) having recently overtaken Ford Motor Company in sales. The company is immensely profitable, and its massive cash reserves dwarf those of many countries. Toyota's vehicles are generally highly regarded for their quality, proficient engineering, and value, but their designs are viewed as anonymous and lacking the flair of smaller manufacturers. Toyota offers one of the largest ranges of vehicles of any manufacturer and does, amongst its more predictable high-volume models, produce a number of exciting sports cars, particularly, the Celica, MR2 and Supra.
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