Top 10 Car Manufacturers: Toyota Motor Corporation

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Colin Pawsey

#2: Toyota Motor Corporation

A brief history

Toyota’s history can be traced back to the automatic loom company started by Sakichi Toyoda in the early 1900’s. An automobile department was established as a division of Toyota Automatic Loom Works Ltd in 1933, and was placed in the care of Sakichi’s son, Kiichiro Toyoda who had spent several years travelling in Europe and America researching the automobile. It was financed by selling the patent rights for the automatic loom to British firm, Platt Brothers.

In the mid 1930’s the first models were completed, an A1 passenger car prototype and a G1 truck, and in 1936 production of the Model AA passenger car began. Toyota Motor Co. Ltd was established in 1937, and the Koromo plant began operations in 1938. The name was changed from Toyoda to Toyota as the latter has 8 strokes when written in Japanese – a number which is considered lucky in East Asian culture.

During World War II the company largely produced trucks for the Japanese military, and civilian production didn’t resume until 1947 with the BM truck, SB small truck, and SA compact passenger car.

By June 1950 the company was on the verge of going out of business, and announced lay-offs and wage reductions which resulted in a two month strike by employees. The dispute was resolved with an agreement which still involved lay-offs and reductions, but also included the voluntary resignation of President, Kiichiro Toyoda. The Korean War also began in 1950, and an order of 5,000 vehicles by the Japanese military revived the company’s fortunes.

A separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co. was established in 1950, and in 1956 the Toyopet dealership chain was created. In 1957 the Toyopet Crown became the first Japanese passenger car to be exported to the USA, and Toyota Motor Sales Inc was established in the U.S., followed by the Brazilian division, Toyota Do Brazil S.A.

Toyota began to expand over the next decade and opened a dedicated research and development centre in 1960. A presence in Thailand was established with the creation of Toyota Motor Thailand Co. Ltd in 1962, and business partnerships with Hino Motors Ltd, and Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd were established in 1966 and 1967 respectively. By the end of the 60’s global exports reached 1 million units and domestic sales had topped 1 million units.

The 1970’s saw further growth and by the end of the decade cumulative exports totalled 10 million vehicles. The Toyota Technical Centre USA Inc. was established in 1977 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In 1982 Toyota Motor Co. Ltd and Toyota Motor Sales Co. Ltd merged to form Toyota Motor Corporation. In 1984 Toyota entered into a joint venture with General Motors and started production in America under the name of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI). In 1987 the TMME (Toyota Motor Europe Marketing and Engineering S.A.) technical centre was established, and in 1988 Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc. started production. The 50 millionth Toyota vehicle was produced domestically in 1986, and by the end of the decade annual domestic sales reached 2 million units. The Lexus brand was launched in America in 1989.

Toyota continued its global expansion in the 1990’s, opening production plants in the U.K., Virginia and Indiana, USA, Kirloskar, India, and Tiianjin, China. The Toyota Prius was released in 1997, and by the end of the decade the 100 millionth vehicle had been produced domestically, and global sales exceeded 3 million units.

In 2002 Toyota entered into a joint venture with Peugeot Citroen automobile Czech, and signed a corporate agreement with China FAW Group Corporation. It also established production plants in France, Poland, The Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, Australia, Canada, and China. By the end of the decade worldwide Prius sales had exceeded 1 million vehicles.

Founded 1937
Headquarters Toyota, Aichi, Japan
Revenue (2013) 253.4 Billion (Year ending 31/3/14)
Pre-tax profit (2013) 24.1 Billion (Year ending 31/3/14)
Employees worldwide 338,875
Vehicle sales (2013) 9.98 Million
CEO Akio Toyoda


 photo akio_toyoda_web_zps304e00be.jpgAkio Toyoda was appointed President of Toyota Motor Corporation in June 2009. Prior to that, he was Chief Officer of the China Operations Group and the Asia, Oceania and Middle East Operations Group. He began his career with Toyota Motor Corporation in 1984 taking up postings in every phase of automotive operations, including production, marketing, and product development, both in Japan and internationally.

The grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda, Akio Toyoda has led Toyota through the global economic crisis as well as the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. He has also had to deal with the controversy surrounding the recalls of 2009/2010 which eventually saw Toyota agree to a $1.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice after admitting to misleading the public about the issues affecting its vehicles.

Toyoda called the recalls a "turning point" in the company’s history and a chance to return to Toyota’s basic philosophy of "Customer comes first"; saying, "Recalls are not about concealing problems we find. It’s about improving the product and coming up with counter-measures."


Toyota’s global vision is ‘to lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible way of moving people’. The global vision and Toyota’s CSR policy (contribution towards sustainable development) are based on the company’s Guiding Principles, which were originally established in 1992.


Company information according to § 5 Telemediengesetz
IQPC Gesellschaft für Management Konferenzen mbH
Address: Friedrichstrasse 94, 10117 Berlin
Tel: 49 (0) 30 20 913 -274
Fax: 49 (0) 30 20 913 240
Registered at: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg, HRB 76720
VAT-Number: DE210454451
Management: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden

Firmeninformationen entsprechend § 5 Telemediengesetz
IQPC Gesellschaft für Management Konferenzen mbH
Adresse: Friedrichstrasse 94, 10117 Berlin
Telefonnummer: 030 20913 -274
Fax: 49 (0) 30 20 913 240
Email Adresse:
Registereintragungen: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg HRB 76720
Umsatzsteuer- Indentifikationsnummer DE210454451
Geschäftsführung: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden