History of Toyota Motor Corporation
|Type||Public (NYSE: TM)|
|Location||Toyota, Aichi, Japan|
Hiroshi Okuda, Chairman
Katsuaki Watanabe, President
|Products||Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu, and Scion brand cars|
|Revenue||¥17.472 Trillion (YEN) (2004)|
Toyota Motor Corporation (in Japanese: トヨタ自動車株式会社; Toyota Jidōsha Kabushikigaisha; TYO: 7203.T , NYSE: TM, LSE: TYT) also abrreviated as TMC, is a multinational corporation that manufactures automobiles. The headquarters of Toyota is located in Toyota, Aichi. Toyota also provides Financial Servicesand participates in other lines of business. It manufactures vehicles under the brand names Toyota, Scion and Lexus, and owns a majority stake in Daihatsu, and 8.7% of Fuji Heavy Industries. The company's Toyota automobiles are well regarded for their longevity and reliability.
Toyota is Japan's biggest car company and the second largest in the world after General Motors. It produces an estimated eight million vehicles per year, about a million fewer than the number produced by GM. The company dominates its home market with about 40% of all new cars registered in 2004 being Toyotas. Toyota also has a large market share in both the United States and Europe. It has significant market shares in several fast-growing South East Asian countries.
The company produces a large range of vehicles which are generally highly regarded for their quality, engineering, and value; their designs set global standards for safety, reliability and ease of maintenance.
The Japanese magazine Nihon Keizai predicted that Toyota would overtake General Motors as the world's biggest automaker in 2006, with an annual production of 9.2 million vehicles.
The story of Toyota Motor Corporation began 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.
Although the Toyota Group is best known today for its cars, it is still in the textile business and still makes automatic looms (fully computerized, of course), 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 to:
- Signify the separation of the founders' work life from home life;
- Simplify the pronunciation, and
- Give the company an auspicious 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.
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.
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.
Toyota has factories all over the world, manufacturing or assembling vehicles for local markets, including its most popular model, 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 and Venezuela.
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.
In 2003, Toyota brought two of their popular cars from Japan (including the bB) to America, and created a new badge, called Scion, meaning a descendant or heir. These cars are targeted towards the young, and young-at-heart. Both models, the xA (known in Japan as the Toyota ist) and xB (known in Japan as the Toyota bB) are powered by a 1.5L DOHC I4 engine. A third model, the Scion tC, was introduced in 2004. Instead of importing an existing model from Japan as was done with the xA and xB, the tC was designed specifically for the North American market, using the four-cylinder engine and transmissions from the Toyota Camry.
Toyota is also famous in industry for its manufacturing philosophy, called the Toyota Production System. This system is copied worldwide by many manufacturing companies.
Toyota in India
Toyota has a manufacturing plant in Bangalore, India. In January 2006, the plant entered a lockout because of a strike by workers who want three sacked colleagues to be reinstated. Toyota runs the plant, which makes Corolla, Innova and Camry cars, with its partner, Indian firm Kirloskar Group. 
World Rally Championship
Prototype Sports Car racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans
In 1998, Toyota debuted the sleek new GT-One prototype racing cars to compete for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The three Toyota GT-One cars (codenamed TS020) were among the fastest cars on the track, but ultimately failed in their quest for overall victory at Le Mans due to various mechanical and electrical failures. Toyota returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe in 1999 with revised models of it's GT-One prototype. The cars proved to be even faster than the year before, but succumbed to reliability problems during the grueling race. After the 1999 race, Toyota withdrew the GT-One cars in favor of focusing its racing research and development on the future Formula One effort.
Entry into Formula One
In 2002 Toyota started racing in Formula One with Toyota Team Europe, based in Cologne. Despite a huge investment, the team's performances have been mediocre so far. In 2004, top designer Mike Gascoyne was hired; by 2005 the team had advanced from the midfield to challenging for the top positions. Jarno Trulli achieved two second places and one third place in the first five races of the season, helping the team to retain second position in the Constructors Championship for several races. Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher are the team's current drivers.
Toyota reports on its consolidated financial statements 540 consolidated subsidiaries and 226 affiliates.
- Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (100% - 2004)
- Hino Motors, Ltd.
- Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd.
- Toyota Canada Inc. owned via Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Toyota Financial Services Corporation provides financing to Toyota customers.
Toyota invests in several small start-up businesses and partnerships in biotechnology, including:
- P.T. Toyota Bio Indonesia in Lampung, Indonesia
- Australian Afforestation Pty. Ltd. in Western Australia and Southern Australia
- Toyota Floritech Co., Ltd. in Rokkasho-Mura, Kamikita District, Aomori Prefecture
- Sichuan Toyota Nitan Development Co., Ltd. in Sichuan, China
- Toyota Roof Garden Corporation in Miyoshi-Cho, Aichi Prefecture
Toyota is also a city in Aichi, Japan, named after the corporation. The basketball and hockey arena in Houston, Texas, the Toyota Center, is also named after the company. A football (soccer) stadium in Prague, Czech Republic, the Toyota Arena, also bears the company's name. Toyota also sponsors the Nagoya Grampus Eight. The team also plays its home games at Toyota Stadium.
- The Toyota Group
- List of Toyota vehicles
- List of Toyota engines
- List of Toyota transmissions
- EPA 2004 fuel economy report (Toyota)
- Toyota Motor Corp. websites
- Toyota Motor official site
- Toyota USA
- Toyota UK (Sales Site)
- Toyota Venezuela
- Toyota India
- Toyota Pakistan
- Toyota UK (Information Site)
- Scion USA (requires flash)
- Lexus USA
- Toyota Financial Services USA
- Current Japanese Toyota lineup
- Current American Toyota lineup (requires Flash)
- Toyota North America 2003 Environmental Report (pdf format)
- Toyota North America 2004 Environmental Report (pdf format)
- Information on Toyota's environmental protection policies