History of Toyota
In 1937, the Toyota Motor Co. Ltd (TMC) was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda as a spin-off from Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. The first car, AA, was launched a year before. It was based on Chrysler Airflow’s design but with some Chevrolet’s input.
But the real growth started in the late 50’s - From 1955 to 1961, production scaled up by 10 folds to 211,000 cars per year. The Crown of 1955 was the first car entirely developed by itself. In 1966, the Corolla was launched as the best seller in its line-up for the following 30 years.
In 1972, the company’s annual production exceeded the 1 million mark. The 2 million mark was reached 4 years later. Economy boom during those 2 decades benefited all Japanese car makers, but Toyota’s unique production system, including the "just in time" parts delivering system, established a solid status as Japan’s biggest car maker, consistently beating arch-rival Nissan (Datsun).
The domestic factories in Toyota City reached their peak in 1990, with over 4 million cars produced that year. Hitting by world-wide recession and the call for protectionism in the US, Toyota had to move more production to overseas, mostly in the US, and reduce domestic production. The Camry, being built in the Kentucky plant, became America’s best seller since 1997. The Corolla continues to be the world’s biggest selling car.
The biggest achievement in recent years is the establishment of the Lexus brand, which is a luxurious car division competing with Mercedes and BMW. Launched in 1989, the LS400 immediately outsold its competitors in the US.
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