Reasons to Buy • Pros vs Cons
Why Buy a Toyota?Trim Levels & Configurations • Buying Guides
About ToyotaSince coming to the United States in the mid-1950s, Toyota Motor Company has become one of the most popular and well-regarded car manufacturers in the world. In 2013 alone, Toyota sold more than 2.2 million cars in the U.S. Read on to learn more about the history of the 14th-largest company in the world.
1937 - Toyota Motor Company is established in Japan by Kiichiro Toyoda and his father, Sakichi. The pair, who owned Toyoda Automotive Loom Company had been experimenting with car production in their home garage since the early 1930s due to encouragement by Japan's government. In 1934, they made their first engine (a copy of the Chevrolet 65-horsepower straight-six), and two prototype vehicles (Model 1A, a car, and G1, a truck) followed.
1945 - The U.S. military gives Toyota permission to produce vehicles during peacetime. The company borrows ideas on lean startup and production improvements from American military techniques.
1950 - After thriving in Japan, bolstered by the production needs of the Japanese army, Toyota was about to go out of business after World War II. The company was rescued by the United States, which ordered 5,000 army vehicles for use during the Korean war.
1957 - Toyota opens its first U.S. location in Hollywood, California. Though sales of the Topoyet Crown floundered, the Land Cruiser SUV (similar to a Jeep, but with a larger engine) proved popular in the U.S.
1959 - Toyota opens its first plant outside of Japan, in Brazil, which sets the stage for the company designing and building vehicles in North and South America as well as Asia.
1965 - The thrifty Toyota Corona debuts in the U.S. and helps to establish the company's flagship reputation for quality, reliable cars.
1967 - The Crown, Toyota's version of a luxury model, is introduced in the U.S. and is available as either a sedan or coupe model.
1968 - The Toyota Corolla debuts in the U.S. as the first Japanese vehicle designed for American drivers and is an instant success. Today, it's the best selling car of all time, with over 30 million sold all over the world.
1975 - After selling its one millionth vehicle in 1972, Toyota pulls ahead of Volkswagen to become the best-selling import car manufacturer in America.
1982 - In celebration of its 25th anniversary in the United States, Toyota opens new world sales headquarters in Torrance, California.
1986 - Toyota becomes the first foreign automaker to sell more than 1 million cars in America in just a single year.
1987 - The charitable Toyota USA foundation is established, with a mission of ensuring that the company is a responsible corporate citizen, on the occasion of Toyota's 30th anniversary in the United States.
1989 - The car manufacturer releases the luxury Lexus line, which sold more than both BMW and Mercedes by 1991.
1997 - In Japan, Toyota releases the hybrid Prius, the first widely-available hybrid car. It takes until 2008 for the car to sell one million units; growth then accelerates quickly, with two million sold by 2009 and four million Toyota-produced hybrids sold by 2012. The same year, the Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the United States.
1998 - The Toyota Tundra, the company's first full sized pickup truck, makes its debut.
2001 - Toyota Motor Sales is established in Mexico, increasing the company's foothold in North America.
2003 - Toyota introduces another line, Scion, marketed toward young buyers
2008 - The company increases its line of hybrid models, including additional Prius models, Tundra, and Lexus hybrids.
Today, Toyota enjoys a well-deserved reputation for the best cars available in the United States. The Prius was named one of the top ten green cars of 2014 by Kelley Blue Book, which also named Lexus as the most trusted luxury brand. Edmunds.com named four Toyota vehicles--2014 Prius hybrid, 2014 Avalon full-size sedan, 2014 Highlander mid-size crossover SUV, and 2014 Sienna van--among their top picks. And U.S. News and World Report has twice named the Scion FR-S as the best sports car for the money. These awards show the excellence and quality of the company's diverse portfolio of vehicles as it celebrates its sixth decade as a U.S. company.