The Toyota Motor Corporation was founded in September 1933 when Toyoda Automatic Loom created a new division devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder’s son, Kiichiro Toyoda. Soon thereafter, the division produced its first Type A Engine in 1934, which was used in 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. Early vehicles bear a striking resemblance to the Dodge Power Wagon and Chevrolet, with some parts actually interchanging with their American originals.
Although the Toyota Group is best known today for its cars, it is still in the textile business and still makes automatic looms, which are now fully computerized, and electric sewing machines which are available worldwide.
Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent company in 1937. Although the founding family name is Toyoda, the company name was changed in order to signify the separation of the founders’ work life from home life, to simplify the pronunciation, and to give the company a happy beginning. Toyota (???) is considered luckier than Toyoda (??) in Japan, where eight is regarded as a lucky number, and eight is the number of strokes it takes to write Toyota in Katakana. In Chinese, the company and its vehicles are still referred to by the equivalent characters, with Chinese reading.
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. The war ended shortly before a scheduled Allied bombing run on the Toyota factories in Aichi.
After the war, commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. The quality and production principles on which Toyota is based originated in an education program from the United States Army in the postwar era. 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. The following year, the Toyota Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota’s American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brazil S.A., were also established.