Toyota is currently the third largest car manufacturer in the world behind General Motors and Volkswagen. Based in Japan, Toyota started off as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works by the founder's son, Kichiro Toyoda. The Japanese Government was urging the company to produce automobiles as the country needed cars due to their war in China.
Toyoda began researching vehicles in 1929 by traveling to Europe and the United States to view production of vehicles. Their first engine debuted in 1934, the first car in May 1935, and the first truck in August 1935. They tended to resemble Dodges and Chevrolet at first.
|1935 Toyota Model G1|
Toyota was established as a separate company in 1937. Even though their name is Toyoda, the name was changed to Toyota because eight it considered a lucky number in Japan and in katakana, it takes eight strokes to write Toyota.
During the Second World War, the car company made trucks for the Japanese Army. Toyota's factories were lucky though; the war ended just before a bombing run was planned on those plants. However, the end of the war proved trouble for the fledgling company. The economy in Japan was horrid and even though they introduced a new car, Toyota was on the edge of bankruptcy by 1949. They did manage to get loans as long as they made a separate sales division, laid off workers, and lowered wages.
|2012 Toyota Camry - Pensacola, FL|
The response to this plan resulted in a two month strike. In order to appease the union and allow the layoffs and wage cuts to take place, the President resigned. The Korean War ended up saving the company though. The United States military ordered five thousand trucks from Toyota.
Toyota expanded in the 1960s with new research and development factories. In 2008, Toyota suffered just like American car companies. In response, they lowered production of the Tundra, which had experience low sales, and increased production of fuel efficient in demand cars such as the Prius, Corolla, and Yaris.
|2014 Toyota FT-1 Concept|
Sources: 1935 Photo, Auto Pulze, http://www.autopulze.com/global-press-releases/toyota-motor-corporation-cumulative-vehicle-production-passes-200-million/ ; Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota