Sunday, April 22, 2007


Toyota Motor Corporation logo

Toyota Motor Corporation (トヨタ自動車株式会社 Toyota Jidōsha Kabushiki-gaisha), or Toyota is a Japanese multinational corporation and the world's second largest[3] automaker making automobiles, trucks, buses, robots and providing financial services through its division Toyota Financial Services. Based in Toyota, Aichi, Japan, the company boasted a total vehicle production of 9.018 million vehicles in 2006 [1]. It is the world's eighth largest company by revenue of $179 billion as of 2006. Toyota is the world's most profitable automaker with net income of $11 billion on year 2006. The company is part of Toyota Group and is its largest. Toyota encompasses Toyota, Lexus, Scion, and parts of Daihatsu brands, divisions and companies.

The company was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries to create automobiles. It created, first as a department of Toyota Industries, its first product Type A engine in 1934 and its first passenger car in 1936.

Many analysts believe Toyota will become the world's largest auto maker in the 2007 calendar-year by total vehicle production and thus overtaking the current leader General Motors Corporation, with a stated goal of producing 9.4 million vehicles in 2007.[4] Its vehicle production increased by 1.7 million vehicles to little over 9 million in 2006 calendar-year.

Founding and earlier history

Founder Kiichiro Toyoda
Founder Kiichiro Toyoda

The Toyota Motor Corporation was founded in September 1933 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.

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 company in 1937. Although the founding family name is Toyoda (豊田), 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 (トヨタ) is considered luckier than Toyoda (豊田) 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: 豐田; Simplified Chinese: 丰田), with Chinese reading. Both transliterations are correct.

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.

Replica of the Toyota Model AA, the first production model of Toyota in 1936
Replica of the Toyota Model AA, the first production model of Toyota in 1936

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. By the end of the decade, Toyota had established a worldwide presence, as the company had exported its one-millionth unit.

[edit] Later history and management

The 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.

Fujio Cho, Katsuhiro Nakagawa (center), Katsuaki Watanabe (right)
Fujio Cho, Katsuhiro Nakagawa (center), Katsuaki Watanabe (right)
President and CEO Katsuaki Watanabe
President and CEO Katsuaki Watanabe

In 1982, the Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales merged into one company, the Toyota Motor Corporation. Two years later, Toyota joined NUMMI, the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. 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 government for making bad loans to the Yakuza crime syndicates.[citation needed] The UFJ became one of the most money-losing corporations in the world, with Toyota's chairman serving as a director.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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 a new factory to build the Toyota Highlander in Mississippi.

Toyota at present day

Toyota Pavillon at the Expo in Aichi
Toyota Pavillon at the Expo in Aichi

The headquarters of Toyota are located in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. Its subsidiary, Toyota Financial Services sells financing and participates in other lines of business. Toyota brands include Scion and Lexus and the corporation is part of the Toyota Group. Toyota also owns majority stakes in Daihatsu and Hino, and 8.7% of Fuji Heavy Industries, which manufactures Subaru vehicles. They also acquired 5.9% of Isuzu Motors Ltd. on November 7, 2006 and will be introducing Isuzu diesel technology into their products.

In 2005, Toyota, combined with its half-owned subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Company, produced 8.54 million vehicles, about 500,000 fewer than the number produced by GM that year. In some months in 2006, Toyota passed Ford in selling cars. Toyota has a large market share in the United States, Europe and Africa and is the market leader in Australia. It has significant market shares in several fast-growing Southeast Asian countries.

In the Fortune Global 500, Toyota Motor is the 8th largest company in the world outpacing Ford Motor Company in all listings in terms of revenue and growth and in the 2006 Forbes Global 2000 it is the 12th largest company in the world. It has been consistently gaining market share in the United States.

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.[8] Toyota has introduced new technologies including the first hybrid gas-electric vehicle, Advanced Parking Guidance System (automatic parking), a four-speed electronically controlled automatic with buttons for power and economy shifting, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyota, and Toyota-produced Lexus and Scion automobiles, consistently rank at the top in quality and reliability surveys, including J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, among others.[9]

Worldwide presence

The headquarters of Toyota in Toyota City, Japan
The headquarters of Toyota in Toyota City, Japan

Toyota has factories all over the world, manufacturing or assembling vehicles for local markets, including the Corolla. Toyota has manufacturing or assembly plants in the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Brazil, and more recently Pakistan, India, Argentina, Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, and the Philippines.

The first Toyota built outside of Japan was a Land Cruiser FJ-251, built in São Paulo, Brazil in May 1959.

Toyota invests a great amount of research into cleaner-burning vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, based on technology such as the Hybrid Synergy Drive. In 2002, Toyota successfully road-tested a new version of the RAV4 which ran on a Hydrogen fuel cell. Scientific American called the company its Business Leader of the Year in 2003 for commercializing an affordable hybrid car.

Toyota Motor North America

Toyota has large presence in the United States with five major assembly plants in Huntsville, Alabama, Georgetown, Kentucky, Princeton, Indiana, San Antonio, Texas and Buffalo, West Virginia and its north American headquarters in New York and/or California. North America is a major automobile market for Toyota. In these assembly plants Toyota Camry and the 2007 Toyota Tundra among others are manufactured. It uses number of catchphrases and/or slogan in its American TV commercials such as It's time to move forward, Smart way to keep moving forward, or Moving forward. Toyota and its brand Lexus vehicles consistently rank well in terms of performance and quality in North American automobile magazines, awards and tests.

Manufacturing facilities


  • Altona, Victoria - Camry and Aurion (formerly Avalon). 109,222 vehicles and 85,769 engines in 2005.Canada
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Cambridge, Ontario - 1.8L (1ZZ-FE) engines, Corolla, Matrix, Lexus RX and from 2008 RAV4.France
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing France, Onnaing-Valenciennes - Yaris Indonesia
  • PT Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia, Cikampek, West Java - Innova, Avanza, and Fortuner Mexico
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Baja California, Baja California - Tacoma Thailand
  • Toyota Gateway Plant, Chachoengsao - Toyota Soluna Turkey
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey Inc., Sakarya - Toyota Corolla United Kingdom
  • Toyota Manufacturing UK, Burnaston, Derbyshire and Deeside, North Wales - Auris, Avensis and Corolla United States
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Huntsville, Alabama - V6 and V8 Engines.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Georgetown, Kentucky - Camry, Avalon and Solara.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Princeton, Indiana - Tundra, Sequoia and Sienna. 364,983 vehicles produced in 2005. (127,431 Tundra, 44,852 Sequoia and 192,700 Sienna)
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, San Antonio, Texas - Tundra. Annual capacity of 200,000 pickup trucks.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Buffalo, West Virginia

Joint venture, licensed, and contract factories Czech Republic

  • Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech (joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroën), Kolín, Czech Republic - Aygo Japan
  • Toyota Industries, Japan (contract facility) - Vitz/Yaris and RAV4 United States
  • NUMMI (joint venture with GM), Fremont, California - Corolla and Tacoma
  • Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (contract facility, starting in Spring 2007), Lafayette, Indiana - Camry India
  • Toyota Kirloskar Industries,Bangalore