Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) (In Japanese: トヨタ自動車株式会社) , , , is an automobile manufacturer in Japan, based in Toyota, Aichi, provides financial services, and participates in other lines of business. It is the primary member of the Toyota Group. It is generally associated with the brand name Toyota, which it maintains.
Origins in Toyoda Automatic Loom —1936
The story of Toyota Motor Corporation began in September 1933 when Toyoda Automatic Loom created a new division devoted to the production of automobiles. Quickly thereafter, the division produced its first Type A Engine in 1934, which in turn was used for the production of 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 most well known today for its cars, it is still in the textile business and still makes automatic looms (fully computerized, of course).
Establishment of Toyota Motor Co. and WWII 1936–1946
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) due to the fact that eight is a lucky number, and 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.
Start of Commercial Production 1947-
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.
Today Toyota is one of the top car manufacturers with large market shares in both the US and Europe. It has a small car division, selling under the Daihatsu brand as well as a heavy vehicle division, selling under the Hino brand.
Toyota is Japan's biggest car company and the second largest in the world (the larger being GM). The company is immensely profitable, and its massive cash reserves dwarf those of many countries. Toyota's vehicles are generally highly regarded for their quality, proficient engineering, and value; but their designs are often viewed as visually bland and lacking the flair seen in cars from certain smaller manufacturers.
Toyota offers one of the largest ranges of vehicles of any manufacturer and does, amongst its more predictable high-volume models, produce a number of exciting sports cars: the Celica, the MR2, and the Supra.
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, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and France. Cars from these plants are often exported to other countries. For example, the South African-built Toyota Corolla is exported to Australia, while the Australian-built Camry is exported (in left hand drive) to countries in the Middle East. Between 1997 and 2000, the number one selling car in the U.S. was the Toyota Camry. It was dethroned in 2001 by the Honda Accord, only to regain its place in 2002, with the introduction of a redesigned model.
Toyota India is one of the largest subsidaries of Toyota. They currently produce three cars, including the Camry, Corolla, and the Sequoia (Land Cruiser Prado in other countries). Toyota also produces a range of SUVs. Indeed, one of its first export markets was exporting its Landcruiser model to Australia in the late 1950s.
Toyota also contributes a great amount of research to cleaner-burning vehicles (See: Toyota Prius). In 2002, Toyota successfully road-tested a new version of the RAV4 which ran on a Hydrogen Fuel Cell. Scientific American made the company its Business Leader of the Year in 2003 for commercializing an affordable hybrid car. In 2004, Toyota showed that it had made its Highlander into the world's first mass-market seven-passenger hybrid SUV.
To gain a higher share in the U.S. domestic luxury car market, Toyota introduced a separate brand called Lexus in 1989, following Honda's (with its Acura division) example. The brand was introduced with two models: the ES 250, based on Toyota Camry, and the LS 400, which was released simultaneously as the Toyota Celsior in Japan. Since then, the lineup has been expanded with other models based on Japanese Toyotas, and the marque has been successful, receiving many industry awards. Now that it has become the number one selling luxury car brand in the U.S., Toyota is introducing it to Japan in 2005, thus completing a cycle of sorts.
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 taken right out of the Toyota Echo (known in Japan as the Toyota Platz), a derivative work of the Toyota Tercel . 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 a platform shared with the Avensis, a Toyota model not sold in North America.
Toyota has also been successful in racing, especially in Rally with the Toyota Celica as well as the Toyota Corolla. In 2002 Toyota started racing in Formula One with the Toyota Team Europe (TTE) and is based in Cologne (Germany).
Toyota is also famous in industry for its manufacturing philosophy, called the Toyota Production System. This system is copied worldwide by many manufacturing companies.
Formula One team
Main Article: Toyota F1
Toyota has participated in the Formula One World Championship since 2002. Despite investing huge amounts of money into the project, the team's performances have so far been mediocre. In 2004, top designer Mike Gascoyne was hired. It was expected that this would lead to an upturn in the teams fortunes, but this has failed to materialise thus far. The team's current drivers are Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher.
Toyota reports on its consolidated financial statements 540 consolidated subsidiaries and 226 affiliates.
Toyota Financial Services Corporation is dedicated to providing financing solutions to Toyota customers.
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.
- List of Toyota vehicles
- List of Toyota engines
- List of Toyota transmissions
- EPA 2004 fuel economy report (Toyota)
- Toyota Motor Corp. websites
- Information on Toyota's environmental protection policies
- 2005 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Retrieved January 11, 2004 from CanadianDriver Communications, Inc. (2004)
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