History of Toyota
The Toyota Motor Corporation was founded by Japanese entrepreneur Kiichire Toyoda in 1937. Initially the production of cars was a spinoff from his father's company Toyoda Industries - Kiichire's father, Sakichi Toyoda, is considered to be one of Japan's most prolific inventors and is referred to by many as the father of the Japanese Industrial Revolution. Three years before, Toyota Motors was still a department within Toyota Industries - it was during this time that the company's first vehicle was actually produced, the Toyota AA.
Initially Toyota vehicles were produced under the name 'Toyoda' after the family name, however the company changed its name in August 1937 for a number of marketing reasons. The main being that Toyoda literally meant 'fertile rice paddies' which had traditional connotations that the company wanted to move away from. Additionally Toyota can be written in eight brush stokes, which is considered lucky in Japan and is visually simpler overall. During the 1940s Toyota began producing smaller vehicles under the name 'Toyopet'. The first of these was known as the Toyopet SA. There was also a light truck variant called the Toyopet Stout and the Toyopet Corona. The company released its first car onto the American market in 1957. The Toyopet Crown was not met with positive reviews due to the name's connotations to toys and pets.
In 1982 Toyota Motor Sales and Toyota Motor Company merged into one, creating the Toyota Motor Corporation. Shortly after this Toyota joined a joint venture with General Motors under the name NUMMO. Throughout the 1990s the company expanded its product range by adding more luxury vehicles into its lineup. During this period Toyota also released the critically acclaimed T100 pickup and a sport version of the Camry. Most recently the company has been developing electric and hybrid technology for use in its vehicles. The Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle is currently one of the most popular eco-friendly vehicles to be sold in America.