Toyota Car manufacturers

But it took another three years before Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. created a new department dedicated to the design, development, and production of automobiles
Kiichiro Toyoda, son of Toyota company founder Sakichi Toyoda, traveled to the U.S. and Europe in 1929 to investigate automobile design and production before starting research into gasoline engine design in 1930. But it took another three years before Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. created a new department dedicated to the design, development, and production of automobiles. Within one year it had created the Type A engine used in the 1935 Model A1 passenger car and G1 truck, which bore a striking resemblance to contemporary Chevrolet and Dodge models, respectively. These were followed by the Model AA car until Toyota's plants were switched over to truck production for World War II. The company's factories were spared when Japan surrendered days before Toyota's facilities were scheduled to be bombed by the Allies.

The 1947 Toyopet SA took the company back into commercial automobile production, but it would be another 10 years before the company entered the U.S. market with the conservative Crown sedan. Another nine years passed before the Corolla entered production. This economy car was followed in 1967 by the 2000GT, a limited-production glamorous sports car that was developed in conjunction with Yamaha, and that would, in convertible form, star in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.

toyota logo
August 28, 1937
Toyota, Aichi, Japan
Kiichiro Toyoda
The 1970s proved to be a pivotal time for Toyota; the twin oil crises made Toyota's small, fuel-efficient vehicles very attractive to American consumers. U.S. imports grew dramatically during this time, aided by the efficiencies of the Toyota Production System (TPS). It drew heavily on the writings of Henry Ford, the work of quality guru W. Edwards Deming, and the just-in-time restocking system a Toyota delegation observed while visiting a Piggly Wiggly grocery store on a fact-finding visit to the United States in the 1950s. TPS allowed Toyota to build high-quality small cars at a profit at a time when U.S. manufacturers could not, which gave Toyota ever-increased market share. Satisfied customers began to demand more models that were closer to American tastes, and Toyota responded with sportier vehicles like the Celica and Supra. In an effort to bring an American flavor to its design, Toyota established Calty Design Research, Inc. in California.

In 1984, it joined forces with GM to re-open the latter's Fremont, Calif., assembly plant to produce the Chevy Nova, a Toyota Corolla twin. Over the next 20 years it built two assembly plants in Canada and six in the U.S. These plants produce everything from the Corolla and Matrix to the RAV4, Camry, Highlander and Tundra pickup.

As if Toyota's growing American market share and diversifying product line wasn't enough, the company began to take on the established luxury car manufacturers when it launched its Lexus division and the V-8-powered rear-drive LS 400 sedan. In 2003, it launched the Scion brand to appeal to younger consumers with unique, fresh vehicles.

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