|The History of Toyota: Always Moving Forward
Toyota continues to build on its reputation by setting new standards in the automotive world. The Corolla and Camry still stand strong and carry the Toyota name, while new editions such as Prius continue to blow other car companies out of the water. Lexus and Scion have proven to be successful as the years go on as well. The future looks extremely bright for Toyota, only building off of their strong reputation that cannot be broken.
| The idea behind Toyota began in the 1930s, when future founder Kiichiro Toyoda and his father began experimenting with car engines in their home country of Japan. In 1934, they finished their first engine the Type A. For about a year, they tested the Type A in different vehicles. As a result, in 1935 they developed the Model A1, a car featuring the Type A engine, and the Model G1, a truck featuring the Type A engine. After years of testing these prototypes they decided to start selling them, and in 1937 Toyota Motor Company was established.|
For a while, Toyota thrived from producing trucks for the Japanese Army. This was especially important during World War II. As the company continued to grow, they decided to expand sales overseas. In 1957, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A Inc, was established.
Toyota Takes on America
The U.S.A Toyota headquarters began selling their Japanese vehicles in Hollywood, CA. The Toyopet Crown began the era, being the first ever Japanese car sold in the United States. Sales of the Toyopet Crown were not as high as Toyota hoped, and due to some pricing controversies the Crown was discontinued in 1961. The Land Cruiser, however, was still available in the U.S. This SUV held the Toyota name until 1966 when the Toyota Corolla was released.
This was the first imported vehicle that was designed specifically for American drivers, and America loved it. The Corolla began setting standards for the Toyota name. It established Toyota’s reputation of high quality, reliable vehicles. This standard still holds today. It also led Toyota to be the third best selling import brand in the United States by 1967. Since its release in 1966, the Corolla has also become the world’s all-time best-selling passenger car. Over 30 million have been sold in more than 140 countries.
Toyota: Hitting Milestones and Making History
In 1972 Toyota hit its first great milestone, they sold their 1 millionth vehicle. Three years later in 1975, Toyota finally surpassed Volkswagen to become the #1 import brand in the United States. Their reputation and name was stronger than ever, leading them to release some of their most memorable marketing campaigns such as “You asked for it/You got it!” and “Oh, what a Feeling” which launched the popular “Toyota Jump!” Today, Toyota is best known for their catch-line “Moving Forward.”
During the end of the 70’s, there was an oil-crisis in the United States. This led Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A’s research and development offices to start looking into new fuel-efficiency technologies. Although it took them about 20 years to create, this early research made a huge impact in Toyota history later on. By the end of the 70’s Toyota had exported more than 10 million vehicles.
The 1980s featured the release of many well-known Toyota vehicles such as the 4Runner, MR2 Sports Car and Camry Sedan. A new National Sales Headquarters was established in 1982 in Torrance, CA. This proved to be a great company strategy since four years later Toyota became the first import automaker to sell more than 1 million vehicles in America in a single year. This was not the only milestone in 1986. This was also the year Toyota built its first vehicle on American soil, the Corolla FX16. The 30thanniversary of Toyota in the United States was celebrated in 1987. In honor of these 30 years, the Toyota USA Foundation was established.
Toyota Launches Lexus, Scion and the Prius
1989 was another significant year in Toyota history. Toyota released their luxury line of vehicles, Lexus. Toyota’s reputation of reliable, quality vehicles carried over to the Lexus line, making the Lexus LS 400 and ES250 immediate successes. By 1991, Lexus was named the #1 luxury import brand in the United States, surpassing the world-renown Mercedes Benz and BMW brands.
1997, the Toyota Camry became the #1 selling passenger car in America. Topping that, this was also the year Japan launched the history-making Toyota Prius. Latin for ‘to go before,’ the Prius was revolutionary for vehicles all over the world being the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car. It set standards for fuel-efficient hybrids in the automotive industry for many years to come. Not only was the Prius an automatic success, but it was only seven years later that sales of the Prius reached one million.
Toyota’s third vehicle line, Scion, was launched in 2003. These modestly-priced and feature-rich vehicles were intended to hit a youth-oriented market. Scion, like Lexus, proved to be a success and led Toyota to sell 2 million vehicles in a single year, 2004.
Toyota Continues to Move Forward
To keep up with the current trend in fuel-efficiency, Toyota released many hybrid vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus lines. The Lexus RX 400h that was released in 2005 was the world’s first luxury hybrid. The same year, Toyota launched a hybrid version of the popular Toyota Highlander. With sales at an all-time high, by 2006 Toyota became the 3rdbest-selling auto company in the United States.
2008 marked a year in United States history that will always be remembered: the recession. As American businesses and families were struggling, Toyota was not. Against all odds, Toyota became the #1 selling auto brand in America in 2008. That same year, the Toyota Camry was named the #1 selling car in the nation. This was the 11thtime in 12 years that the Camry took this title. At this time Toyota also finally passed General Motors to become the world’s largest automaker for the first time in history.