How Toyota got its start

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Toyota is known across the globe, and in 2014 the brand became the largest automaker in the world. Fortune 500 ranks it fifth out of every business in the world in terms of revenue. Toyota is also famous for leading the way in hybrid-electric car manufacturing. They’re one of our best sellers at Carzoos, so we decided to take a little drive down memory lane and find out how the company first got started.

Today when you ask someone what they think of when they hear the word “Toyota” they will undoubtedly say something related to driving or vehicles, however when the company first began in Japan in 1891, cars barely even existed. The company began when man named Sakichi Toyoda designed and patented a new version of a wooden hand loom and then later built a powered loom. His entire working life was spent improving the loom, and his son Kiichiro Toyoda took over and went on to exhibit the circular loom at the Fourth Inventors Exposition in Tokyo in 1932. From here Kiichiro went on to establish automatic loom manufacturing although he was very interested in the emerging auto industry.

Sakichi Touoda

Japan’s railway was devastated after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and the country’s demand for vehicles increased. The Americans began to ship over their vehicles. Ford and General Motors built plants in Japan. World War One brought heaps of changes, and in September of 1933 what is now known as the Automotive Department was established within Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.

In May of 1934, Toyoda began the initial stages of building a vehicle prototype, and in May 1935, the Model A1 passenger car prototype was finished. In 1936 Toyoda became Toyota and seven different Toyota dealerships went up across the country.

A1 Prototype

The use of domestic parts became obligatory in Japan starting in 1938 making it hard for Ford-Japan and GM-Japan to stay in business. By 1939 both industries had halted production. It was also in this year that the Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute was established.

How right he was. Despite the company’s beginnings in the weaving industry, Toyota quickly adapted to eventually lead the way of the entire auto industry. It’s fascinating to learn about their evolution.