May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on May 4, 2015

Toyota Logo

Brief History About Toyota

Toyota Motor Corporation was founded in 1937 in Japan by Kiichiro Toyoda. However the Toyota company started off in 1933 with an automobile department at their Toyoda Automatic Loom Works and produced their first car in 1935/36.

After WW2 Toyota built small vehicles and started exporting and selling them to the USA in the late 50’s. However the USA also introduced import tax in the 60’s and so Toyota, along with other Japanese car manufacturers started to build factories in the USA to avoid the tax. Japanese car makers did well in the 70’s as they produced small economical cars, which was much needed due to the oil crises at the time, also Toyota gained their first quality control award.

Toyota got involved in various motorsport events as far back as 1957 through their Toyota Sports Corner division (Tosco). However it’s fair to say that the 70’s was when they really started to push forward with all types of racing, including Rallying from the 70’s, Le Mans from the 80’s, various GT racing from the late 80’s/early 90’s, NASCAR from 2000 and even F1 from 2002-2009. In 1976 Tosco was also renamed to Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and is now Toyotas well known in-house tuning division for both road and race cars.

In 1984 Toyota partnered with GM to produce cars at the old Fremont factory in California. Also during the 80’s and 90’s Toyota increased its number of operations and started to added more models to their line-up, including SUV’s/Trucks,¬†more sporty cars to attract the younger buyers and also setup a luxury brand in the form of Lexus in 1989.

The new millennium was a bit of an up and down period for Toyota, with several recalls, affecting millions of vehicles. Despite this they still managed to expand and grow and in 2002 they set up Scion for the USA, partnered with Peugeot-Citroen, took shares in Daihatsu, Subaru (FHI), and Isuzu.

In 2008 due to the global financial crisis, Toyota made its first loss in 70 years, followed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which saw Toyota’s production suffer with big losses in production numbers. Despite these problems Toyota have managed to keep going and have looked to the future with pioneering work in the production and development of electric/hybrid/fuel cell vehicles, with co-operation with Mazda and Tesla from 2010.

In 2011 Toyota formed a partnership with BMW, sharing research in environment-friendly technologies. By 2014 Toyota have almost climbed back on top of the car manufacturers top spot for car sales and look to continue to grow even bigger.

Toyota 2000GT
2000GT 1966-1970

Toyota Corolla GT
Corolla GT Coupe AE86 (Levin/Trueno) 1983-1987

Toyota Celica GT4
Celica GT4 1986-1989

Toyota Celica GT4
Celica GT4 1989-1993

Toyota Celica GT4
Celica GT4 1994-1999

Toyota Celica VVTi
Celica VVTi 1999-2006

Toyota MR2 Mk1
MR2 Mk1 1984-1989

Toyota MR2 Mk2
MR2 Mk2 1989-1999

Toyota MR2 Mk3
MR2 Mk3 1999-2007

Toyota Supra Mk3
Supra Mk3 3.0i Turbo 1987-1993

Toyota Supra Mk4
Supra Mk4 Twin Turbo 1993-2002

Toyota GT 86
GT 86 2012 on

See Lexus for Toyota Soarer