Toyota 101: Everything You Need to Know About the World’s Top Automaker
Toyota was established in 1937, the same year as General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Over the years, they have become synonymous with reliability and safety while also becoming one of the most successful automakers on the planet by volume.
But how much do you really know about Toyota? You might think you know everything there is to know about this automaker, but we’re here to tell you that there are still some things you might not be aware of… read on to learn more!
History of the brand
Toyoda Automatic Loom Works was founded in 1937 by Sakichi Toyoda, who invented a way of automating Japan’s traditional weaving looms.
This spawned a series of innovations from his son Kiichiro, including an automatic cotton-spinning machine and a production line for textile machinery.
Production of automobiles began after World War II. The name was changed to Toyota Motor Corporation in 1950 and later incorporated as Toyota Motor Company in 1952; Toyota is also Japan’s largest automaker since 2012 (the previous leader being Nissan).
In addition to manufacturing automobiles, Toyota provides financial services through its Toyota Financial Services division and also created divisions focused on performance engineering and hybrid electric vehicles. (Read About: McLaren 720s ).
The company was founded as a spinoff from his father’s company Toyota Industries, which was created in 1937 by Sakichi Toyoda. In 1934, Sakichi Toyoda invented a loom that automatically shuttles back and forth between two threads when they became too far apart.
This allowed greater production rates at lower costs. Its success spawned similar innovations from other companies worldwide, including General Motors and Chrysler in 1940, Ford in 1941, and Togoshi Seikosho in 1950; however, all of these companies eventually merged with Toyota Motor Corporation due to being unable to compete with its products.
In 1950, Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent company in order to produce automobiles and trucks by Kiichiro Toyoda. (Read Also: What’s the Bugatti Veyron Price? )
Toyoda Automatic Loom Works built automatic looms for Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, which are now used all over the world.
Kiichiro Toyoda died in 1947 without his dream of producing automobiles being realized; however, his son Eiji chose to continue building cars, believing that vehicles had a greater potential for society than textiles.
He also believed that complete production control should be placed under one company rather than dispersed among suppliers.
The first vehicle Toyota built was called the Toyopet Crown in 1957. One of its first trucks was called Toyopet Truck, which led to Toyotarareru and then later simply Toyota.
The company was renamed Toyota Motor Corporation in 1958, before merging with Hino Motors and becoming part of Toyota Industries Company (also known as TMC) that same year.
Also in 1958, a number of companies including Toyo Bearing, Kisha Seizo Co., and Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding were merged into TMC.
In 1959, TMC acquired another automobile manufacturer, Daihatsu Motor Company Ltd. In 1965, Daihatsu Motor Company Ltd became a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation.
General Information and Facts
Toyota is one of Japan’s most popular and successful automakers. The company was founded in 1937 and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012. Over these last 75 years, Toyota has become a dominant player in the global auto industry.
There are many reasons for Toyota’s success some say that it is because of its focus on quality or their focus on innovation. Although it is true that Toyota emphasizes quality and strives to innovate with every new model, there are many other factors that have contributed to its success.
In addition, while consumers may think they understand everything there is to know about Toyota cars and trucks, they probably don’t know as much as they think they do!
For example, have you ever wondered what the Prius Effect really means? Or how much money does Toyota spends on R&D each year? Or how many employees work at Toyota headquarters in Tokyo? If so, then read on to learn more about all things Toyota.
As mentioned above, quality is one of Toyota’s core values. In fact, they have a term for it the Toyota Way. The company’s approach can be broken down into fourteen separate points, which include continuous improvement and respect for people.
Some critics argue that Toyota has become too focused on quality and argues that focusing too much on quality may hinder innovation. (Read Also: Lamborghini Urus For Sale ).
However, there are many others who believe that while some customers don’t care as much about quality or innovation (i.e., they just want a reliable car at an affordable price), Toyota provides both in each and every vehicle it makes regardless of its segment or purpose.
Today, Toyota is one of the world’s top automakers. In 2021 alone, the company sold 9.98 million vehicles around the globe.
In fact, it was in second place after General Motors when it came to annual vehicle sales for 2013 it sold 4 million more than Ford and nearly 5 million more than Volkswagen (VW).
In addition, on a global level, Toyota took first place as well when it came to light vehicle sales by market share for 2013. In fact, for every 100 cars that were sold last year worldwide about 42 of them were Toyotas!
Toyota has a rich history of building reliable and affordable cars, which has helped them become one of the most popular brands in automobile history.
Their lineup includes some of today’s best-selling vehicles like Camry, Corolla, Prius, Tacoma, and Tundra; however, many American consumers don’t know that these well-known models are just a few of their full lineup. Other great Toyota cars include Avalon, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, and Sienna.
The company is also known for innovative concepts like the FT-86 sports car and electric car Prius Prime. From passenger cars to trucks to SUVs, there’s something for everyone in Toyota’s vast collection of vehicles.
Toyota’s long history of success isn’t limited to its car lineup. Their SUVs, pickups, and crossovers have also proven very popular with drivers around the world.
Vehicles like Highlander, 4Runner, Sequoia, and Tundra are some of their more popular offerings in these categories; however, many Americans don’t know that there are other great models like FJ Cruiser and RAV4 for sale too.
The company has also pioneered new technologies within these segments including advanced safety features and efficient hybrid powertrains that get impressive fuel economy without sacrificing performance or capability. (Read Also: 2022 Porsche Cayenne).
As far as design goes, Toyota has a reputation for making cars that look great but still perform well at an affordable price point.
Toyota is currently one of the most popular automakers in North America. Their full lineup offers drivers plenty of choice between a sedan, hatchback, wagon, and SUV body styles; however, many consumers don’t realize there are other models like Tacoma and Tundra for sale too.
As far as SUVs go, 4Runner and FJ Cruiser are two great options with tough truck-based bodies that can handle a variety of off-road driving situations.
Some cars also offer all-wheel drive which is great for year-round driving conditions or harsh winters where you may encounter slippery or slushy road surfaces.
Toyota is based in Japan and operates with a decentralized management structure that is divided into six regions and headquartered in North America, Europe, China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.
Within each region are three business fields which include sales/marketing and production for cars, sales/marketing for trucks and SUVs (light vehicles), plus sales/marketing for commercial vehicles.
The company employs nearly 370K people worldwide which includes nearly 1K senior managers. A global recall on several of their models earlier in 2017 caused some negative press but was largely due to a misunderstanding of how an electronic parking brake worked they were not at fault as many media outlets claimed.
Here’s a rundown of all of Toyota’s vehicles and its divisions, listed alphabetically. We’ve also included their best-selling model. Keep in mind that Toyotas are divided into four separate brands: Lexus, Scion, Toyota, and Hino. (Read Also: 2021 Porsche Cayenne).
All-new vehicles and their suggested retail prices (MSRP) for most models include Toyota Avalon ($33,380), Toyota Camry ($26,600), Toyota Corolla S ($18,475), Toyota Corolla XRS ($20,725), Toyota Highlander Hybrid ($34,545), Toyota Prius C Three 5 Door Hatchback ($19,000); Lexus ES 300h Sedan ($39,995); Lexus GX 460 Premium Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) ($49,280); Lexus IS 250C Luxury Coupe ($39,370); Lexus LS 460L Ultra-Luxury Sedan Four-Door with Rear-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive (MSRP: $74.090).
Scion IQ Three-Door Hatchback ($16,120); Scion xB Five-Door Wagon ($15,765); Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) ($35,270); Toyota 86 Two-Door Coupe with Automatic Transmission and Premium Package ($29,670).
And now for 2013 is a hybrid version of Toyota’s full-size Tundra pickup truck. Prices start at $32,780. The 2014 Camry sedan is scheduled to go on sale in early 2014; pricing has not yet been announced. Look for prices on all models here.
Here’s a rundown of all of Toyota’s vehicles and its divisions, listed alphabetically. We’ve also included their best-selling model.
Lexus CT 200h F Sport Hatchback ($29,895); Lexus ES 350 Sedan with Automatic Transmission and All-Wheel Drive ($37,415); Lexus GS 350 AWD Luxury Four-Door ($46,570); Lexus GX 460 Premium Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) ($49,280); Lexus HS 250h F Sport Sedan 4 Door with Six-Speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission ($34,520).
US model sales only. For all other countries, see numbers on previous pages for total sales for each vehicle as of 2013. Sales figures do not include SUVs and trucks (Lexus GX, Lexus LX) or Lexus brand vehicles sold worldwide and outside North America. Market share data from 2012 are not yet available for Ford, Mazda, and Mitsubishi.
Toyota is one of three major carmakers that dominate global vehicle sales, along with GM and Volkswagen.
In 2017, it sold 10.23 million vehicles worldwide, behind only GM’s 11.31 million (Volkswagen had 10.3 million). It has been in business for over seven decades and is a household name around much of the world; its slogan is let’s go places.
The Japanese-owned automaker sells vehicles under a number of different brands globally, including Toyota, Lexus, and Daihatsu.
Toyota has 15 manufacturing plants across 14 countries and has production facilities on five continents; overall it employs more than 320,000 people globally.
Most of Toyota’s vehicles are sold in its home market, Japan, with China being its second-largest territory and Europe third. In 2017 it sold 1.4 million vehicles in China and over 1.2 million in Europe; Japan is a distant third at 710,000 units (compared to over 10 million in China).
The company has six plants across North America but only two are active; these plants produce more than a quarter of all Toyota-brand vehicles worldwide. Its plants around Asia include Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
In Australia, it also has two factories while Mexico makes more than 250,000 Lexus-branded cars per year for export to other markets under a joint venture with GM.
Toyota began in 1937 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, a company that was founded by Sakichi Toyoda six years earlier. The division started with one product, a model called Toyoda Model G1, an affordable little car that cost less than half of what other vehicles cost at its time.
Production grew rapidly and Toyota changed its name to Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. in 1947; it remains one of Japan’s largest corporations today.
Toyota operates worldwide, with manufacturing facilities in Japan, Canada, Australia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, China (including Hong Kong), and a joint venture with GM in Mexico.
It has a number of manufacturing plants for specific models; its Lexus plants are located in Kentucky and Texas while it produces most of its luxury Land Cruiser in Thailand.
In 2017 it sold 10.2 million vehicles globally; however, it was also responsible for 2.3 million units that were produced by its affiliates or joint ventures.
Electric cars (Coming soon!)
Toyota vehicles are generally regarded as reliable and safe. They’re built with high-quality materials and components that last for years, even decades. If you live in a cold climate, however, your Toyota might be lacking in certain areas of performance.
In particular, Toyotas are not known for driving well in snowy or icy conditions. Here’s what to look out for when driving your Toyota in winter.
If you live in a cold climate, you might want to get your Toyota tuned up before winter comes. A technician can reprogram your vehicle’s antilock brakes, traction control, and stability control systems so they work together more effectively.
They can also add a special type of synthetic grease that repels water and prevents rust from building up inside key parts of your engine. With these changes, as well as with snow tires on all four wheels, driving in wintry conditions should be much easier next year.
Aside from normal wear and tear on tires or unexpected weather-related issues, there are some easy ways to save money at the pump by keeping an eye on those costs right away.
On average, Toyota owners save more than $5,200 on fuel over their first five years of ownership. There are also some simple things you can do to ensure that your vehicle is saving you as much money as possible at each fill-up. For example, don’t run your car until it’s almost out of gas.
While it may be tempting and faster to drive to a station right before you hit empty, running out of gas means wasting all of that gasoline in your tank. If there’s still half a tank left when you begin searching for a gas station, look around and see if there is one nearby.
Chances are good that there is another station within five minutes or so away from where you’re looking now.
If you’re in a rush and want to fill up quickly, choose an electric pump. This way, you’ll save about three minutes per trip over using a standard pump. Finally, keep in mind that even though there are cheaper gas stations around, it may not always be worth your while to drive there.
In general, driving an extra 10 minutes or so will save you only about two cents per gallon of gas. Think about how many times you refill your tank each year and if it would really be worth those extra 10 minutes just for that tiny savings.
For example, if you buy gas in two-gallon increments, it costs about three cents less per gallon. By comparison, paying for a full tank of gasoline instead of one that’s half-full will save you only four cents per gallon.
Sure, it seems like saving a few pennies here and there might not make a big difference in your budget at first glance. But when you’re filling up once or twice a week throughout an entire year, those small differences add up quickly and can make all the difference when living on a tight budget.
Likewise, buying a top-of-the-line Toyota vehicle will help you save even more money. Due to their high quality and competitive prices, Toyotas can hold their value over time.
This means that you’ll be able to resell your vehicle for almost as much as you paid for it, allowing you to buy a new Toyota without putting too much of a dent in your bank account.
For example, if your car is worth $5,000 now but only needs another $2,000 in repairs before it’s roadworthy again and those repairs are absolutely necessary then buying a new vehicle may not be worth it right now.
Before Buying a Toyota, Consider…
Before you commit to any model of car, truck, or SUV, there are a few things you should know about Toyota’s offerings. The first is that many models have the highest in-class acceleration rates or high safety ratings or something similar.
In reality, such claims are mostly meaningless; it’s much more important for a buyer to consider exactly what they want from their vehicle and find out which vehicle is best suited for those wants.
For example, although every brand has its share of fast cars (including Toyota), an owner looking for a sleek speedster with road-racing potential won’t find it in a Camry, and buyers who only want such vehicles should buy something else instead.
As another example, while most brands offer some sort of hybrid option nowadays, owners looking for a high-end hybrid will be disappointed by Toyota’s offerings.
As yet another example, although most brands offer some sort of pickup truck these days, owners looking for one without compromises will be disappointed by Toyota’s offering. And so on and so forth.
When comparing vehicles, there are a few factors you should consider. One is price. Unless you’re a dealer or have access to special deals or schemes, Toyota’s pricing can be quite a bit higher than many other brands sometimes as much as $10,000 more for similar models.
On average, if you’re looking at Toyota trucks or SUVs with comparable features, you should add around $1,000-2,000 onto any price estimates you get from dealerships and private sellers just to ensure that you don’t get overcharged. Another factor is reliability and durability.
It’s important to consider all of these factors when you look at a Toyota; some models offer features that other brands don’t and their reputation for quality is well-deserved, but it can be hard to see those features through biased advertising or marketing campaigns.
If you’re serious about buying a Toyota, do your research on top of reading reviews and testimonials, and make sure you ask any potential sellers just what they know about what they’re selling.
A happy owner who knows enough about their car to answer your questions is a great sign; one who either ignores your questions or doesn’t seem very knowledgeable is a poor one.
The Pros and Cons of Driving a Toyota in Winter
If you’re in any market where winters are frigid, it’s likely you consider an all-wheel-drive car. It makes sense. In conditions where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, power goes out, and public transit is at a standstill, being able to get around safely and reliably is essential.
But if you drive a Toyota, then it’s time for a rethink. All-wheel-drive doesn’t help much in these situations. Read on for more reasons why AWD isn’t always your best bet in inclement weather and advice on what IS.
Okay, so AWD isn’t that great in ice and snow. What is? Well, all-season tires are a great choice. If you have an AWD vehicle, these are your most logical option because they grip better than winter tires on ice and will still provide more traction in wet conditions than summer or all-season tires.
However, if you want a car that can handle any road situation without fail and don’t mind spending extra money on maintenance then stick with another brand of tire altogether. Yes, really!
Studded tires are designed specifically for extreme winter weather driving situations and while it sounds counterintuitive metal shavings can’t possibly be good for your car—they’ll give you as much traction as possible in icy conditions.
In some cities, studded tires are prohibited. Even if they’re not, we definitely don’t recommend using them on dry pavement, because it will tear up your car and may affect other road users who could hit a metal shard that comes off your tire.
The real benefit of studded tires is when you really need them driving in serious snow or ice conditions and even then, they should only be used as a last resort until more favorable conditions return.
That said, if you decide to buy these winter wonder weapons for your Toyota (or any vehicle), make sure you have enough clearance for them on your vehicle. Some models won’t be able to accommodate their extra thick treads.
In any situation, driving slow and being aware of what’s going on around you can really help keep you safe. That goes for winter driving, too.
Slow down (in good weather or bad) and make sure your lights are on driving without working headlights is illegal in many places because it can be a big safety hazard for other drivers and even yourself! Also, turn on your windshield wipers even if it doesn’t look like you need them.
In snow or light rain, a small layer of water can build up quickly and make it much harder to see road conditions; keeping your windshield clean helps ensure that you don’t suddenly find yourself in an unexpectedly dangerous situation because of hidden dangers below freezing temperatures.
Toyota is an automotive juggernaut with a well-deserved reputation for producing vehicles that are not only high-quality but also affordable and durable. (Read Also: Porsche Cayenne).
This Japanese company currently holds positions as both the largest car manufacturer in Japan and the third-largest automaker in the world. But if you’re looking to learn more about Toyota, its history, the lineup of cars and trucks, or simply want to know more about Japan’s economic powerhouses, read on!