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How Big is Toyota?: History and lesser-known facts

How Big is Toyota?: History and lesser-known facts

Toyota, one of the world's most recognizable brands they're known to be affordable and reliable. In fact, I had a friend that didn't put any engine oil in his old corolla for years. He just said he forgot and the car still ran fine. And then there was that time that the original top gear crew tried to destroy a Toyota Hilux. They ran into a tree, drowned it, dropped a caravan on it hit it with a wrecking ball, burnt it, lifted it onto the top of a building which then got demolished, and it was still running after all of this.

According to statistics from the manufacturer, as many as 80% of their car sold in the last 20 years are still on the road. So it's clear that Toyotas are well-built, and they're a common sight in most places around the world.

But how did the company start and what's the story behind it? How big are they, and what are some lesser-known facts about Toyota?


It all begins in a humble way. A son who seeks and found inspiration for his mother to make her life a little bit easier. The story starts with sakichi Toyoda who was born in 1867 in the city of kosai. sakichi was inspired by a self-help book. In the book was a description of an inventor who created motorized textile machinery. When he was coming home the day after his father worked for the carpentry business, Toyoda noticed how hard his mother worked in weaving clothes, and at that time he decided that a self-operated machine would make his life easier.

Despite opposition from his father he decided to dedicate all of his time to the project in 1898 he submitted his patent of the Toyoda power looms a type of textile machine. It used a one-horsepower oil motor and would be the first power loom in japan it quickly drew acclaim and attention for its ability to reliably produce high-quality cotton. After catching the eye of a prominent businessman in may of 1986 Toyota founded the Toyota loom company as a joint-stock venture but it wasn't all smooth sailing in 1910.

He was forced to resign after Japan had a major recession to vent. Sakichi made a trip to the United States and Europe. He was in awe of the level of technological advancement, but it was the car in particular that caught his eye Inspired, he decided to return to Japan and start a new company with his son Kiichiro. Although the new company was called Toyoda Spinning and Weaving.

In 1929, he sold the rights to his powered weaving machine for 1 million yen and gave the money to his son only on the one condition that he would use the money to create japan's own automobile. Initially, Kiichiro was unsure but then sent him to the US to inspect the manufacturing process. He was convinced that it was possible. Around the same time, the Japanese government was offering incentives for entrepreneurs to create a Japanese car kiichiro took this as a sign and began diversifying away from the textile industry and into the automotive industry.

In 1932, two prototype cars were released. This fast adaptation to change proved to be a decision that would alter the course of history. In the following year, the newly formed Toyoda automatic loom works dedicated all their efforts to produce cars. The first production cars rolled out in 1935 and the division became its own company Toyota motor company in 1937. The aim of Toyoda was to be cheaper than the other cars imported by ford or general motors.

The first cars were an instant success in Japan and Toyoda was on its way. The vehicles were originally sold under the brand name Toyoda with a d. This was after the name of the company's founder but later of course this was changed to Toyota. The word Toyoda means fertile rice paddies, not something suitable for a car manufacturer in hindsight. Continuing to the momentum in the late 1930s kiichiro set up a research lab his reasoning was very insightful. He stated quote I want to gradually get rid of this attitude of taking the easiest path by taking someone else's hard work.

We have relied on the west until now if we want to truly make japan's industry independent. We have to cultivate that drive-end quote. After expanding to multiple production plants in the 1930s the events of world war two in the 1940s almost destroyed the company causing kiichiro to resign.

The next few years will be a bumpy road, but in a strange twist, it was the Korean war that saved Toyota. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy but in the first few months of the Korean war, the united states ordered more than 5,000 vehicles from Toyota reviving the company. In the 1950s, some managers noticed that American workers were 9 times more productive as the Japanese.

They discovered that the issue wasn't with the people but the process throughout this decade the company focused their efforts on increasing productivity by streamlining their process to boost efficiency. With increasing productivity in 1955, they shifted their sights to the global market. Upon a visit to the US the world's biggest market at the time a Toyota executive noted that there were many small European cars alongside the larger us ones.

He saw a problem they were too expensive. As a reaction to this Toyota, built an affordable car and pushed it into the US market it was called the toyopet crown the company's excitement was at a fever pitch this was going to be their big break, as it turns out it was a complete disaster only 300 cars were sold. The main reason was that they had misunderstood American roads. For Japanese roads the crown was fine but when it was put on the US highways it would overheat lose power and drink way too much fuel. Toyota had to go back to the drawing board.

The result was Toyota's total quality control a complete process that included everything from the staff's level of enjoyment to a drive for constant improvement. After this they exported globally the export strategy was something called genchi bunbutsu* it means to go to the source and get the facts to make the right decision. After much research of external markets, their cars began to succeed overseas. 1966 would see the release of the Toyota corolla one of the most popular cars of all time.

The oil crisis of the 1970s would further propel the need for smaller cars that were more efficient on fuel. Vo, car salesman: "we were selling cars like crazy but by the next day - disaster the oil embargo came along and "couldn't sell big cars it also affects people that had bought big cars for bringing them back leave them on the lots of here" "don't want it - I won't be able to buy gas for it" But when American manufacturers decided to cut the cost of small cars, they meant that their quality just couldn't match Toyota.

From this time on Toyota was unstoppable with hits like the Camry in 1982 and the acclaimed supra and mr2 and of course the Prius. In 1989, the company would move upmarket with their sub-brand lexus. Over the decades the lineup continued to grow now there are almost a hundred different models of Toyota cars globally.


Today Toyota is one of the most recognizable brands. Their cars they're everywhere you look on the road so how big are they in? In 2015, Toyota was the number one car manufacturer but since then they've lost the top spot to VW. Toyota's production topped out at 10.74 million cars last year which is more than VW's 10.3 million. Coming in at third was general motors with 9.8 million cars produced so a three-way battle between Germany, Japan, and the united states how about that? Last year Toyota made $278 billion.

Toyota is the biggest company in Japan by market capitalization, they're almost twice as big as the second-largest company which is Softbank. Toyota owns, Daihatsu, Lexus Hino they have a 16.7% stake in Subaru a 6% stake in Isuzu most surprisingly up until 2016 Toyota had a 10% stake in Tesla, but they sold it as the companies began to become competitors. The Japanese firm also owns the kyohokai group, which has another 334 companies under its name. They also own red entertainment, which is a video game developer.

In addition, to cars, Toyota is part owner of Mitsubishi aircraft corp, which will be creating a regional jet within the next year. The company has manufacturing plants in 27 countries including Russia, Turkey, Poland, Brazil, France, Canada, the UK, and the US. They have 349 thousand employees. Toyota is the 9th largest company on earth in terms of revenue.

They also participate in philanthropic efforts in education, conservation safety, and disaster relief, for example, the Toyota USA Foundation supports education in science technology engineering and mathematics. The food bank of new york city uses Toyota to improve their processes and operations. Toyota has also been making humanoid robots as early as 2004. The company also has banking financing and leasing branches.

Okay so we're almost at the end of the article, but before we finish things off let's take a look at the six surprising facts about Toyota.

6. From 1966 Toyota has been manufacturing and selling a corolla every 37 seconds on average, but if that's not enough now they're selling one every 15 seconds. 44M sales if you lined up all the corollas sold back-to-back, it will make a line around the earth 5 times. These corollas have collectively driven 50 round trips between the earth and sun. The corolla has been the best-selling nameplate since 1997.

5. The company has the highest number of global patents in the auto industry at over 1500 annually. They spend 9 billion us dollars in r&d and at times they've put as much as 1 million dollars every hour just into research. If you remember this goes back almost a hundred years to kiichiro Toyoda's philosophy. Some fruits of this research is a new solid-state battery that could be in cars by 2020 and a hydrogen fuel cell car called the Toyota Mirai. Finally, after 20 years of research, there is a hydrogen fuel cell car now.

4. Toyota is one of the most global brands while other big brands like coca-cola and McDonald's may top out at being in about a hundred countries. Toyota is in over 170 countries.

3. They're automation pioneers. The company has been using robots in their plants since the 1970s and today Toyota uses their robots to help with medicinal and nursing support along with the assistance of those with limited mobility.

2. The Prius is the best-selling hybrid of all time. Since 1997, they've sold over 6 million cars.

1. In 2017, Fortune named Toyota as one of the world's most admired companies, 3 years in a row. They've also won the winning title of number one vehicle company, three years in a row. For those of you wondering Toyota automatic loom works still exists today they're now called Toyota industries corporation and are the world's largest manufacturer of forklifts. Toyota is also still in the textile industry creating computerized automatic looms and sewing machines.

It's pretty cool that the company's roots still exist today. So there you have it from watching his mother work too hard and having the idea to make her life easier all the way to being one of the largest car manufacturers the world has ever seen. When you really think about it. There's no way of knowing where a simple spark of inspiration will take you. So next time you see a Toyota on the road have a bit of a think about that. Anyway, thanks for reading. If you found this article informative then let me know in the comments below and also give it a share.

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