Many well-known car companies were not originally associated with this industry. The transition to new production was not always painless, but the result justified the investment.
30s of XX century
Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, named in honor of the founder and director Sakichi Toyoda, was engaged in a completely domestic and peaceful business - the production of textile products. Sakichi was a talented inventor who was the first in Japan to construct an automatic loom. The demanded and always relevant craft brought a good income, but in 1933 the son of the director Kiichiro Toyoda opened a new production, which would later become one of the leaders in the automotive industry.
The entrepreneurial streak is only half the success. The other half is money. Although the company felt quite confident in the market, pouring a large amount of money into a completely new project seemed like a rather risky decision. However, Kiichiro found a way out. Just at that time, the English company Platt Brothers became interested in Japanese spinning machines, the patent rights for which were sold by the future automobile tycoon. With the proceeds, Kiichiro Toyoda begins the development of the first models: a Model A1 passenger car and a Model G1 truck. They were introduced in 1935, and already in 1936 they were put into production. At the same time, the first export delivery to northern China took place: four trucks left for the Celestial Empire.
A year later, in 1937, the automotive department was spun off into a separate company, which became known as Toyota Motor.
The Second World War
Automotive production was already considered strategically important at that time, so with the onset of the conflict, factories completely stopped the production of civilian models. Instead, trucks, amphibious all-terrain vehicles, spare parts for military equipment and aircraft came off the conveyors. As you know, Japan's participation in the war led to disastrous consequences. Although the factories themselves were hardly damaged during the bombing, the surrender put all high-tech companies at great risk. The production of vehicles was banned. In 1945, the company received permission to manufacture, but the US Department of Defense was still closely monitoring the former enemy, so until 1947 the plant produced utensils and tools.
The beginning of flourishing
Despite the economic depression and post-war devastation, Kiichiro Toyoda and a group of engineers began to develop a new model as soon as the restrictions were lifted. The first post-war passenger car was driven by a 1-liter four-cylinder engine and a power of only 27 "horses". The two-door sedan based on it was named Model SA or Toyopet because of its small size. It was an undemanding and fairly cheap car, reminiscent of the Volkswagen Beetle.
Around the same time, production of the civilian Land Cruiser begins. Taking the Jeep design as a basis, this car was based on a chassis with a carrying capacity of 1 ton and the world's first all-wheel drive with 6, not 8 cylinders.
Unfortunately, the founder was no longer given the chance to see how his brainchild became great: Kiichiro Toyoda died in 1952.
Entering international markets and replenishing the model range
In the late 50s, Toyota made the first attempts to export its cars to the United States. This venture was unsuccessful. Despite the fact that the Japanese offered compact and unpretentious cars, at that time and in the early 60s the Americans preferred voracious and oversized muscle cars, but the foundation was laid and the small cars gradually began to conquer the market.
The obvious jump in sales fell on the demographic boom, when almost every family had children, and with them the need for transport. Here, just the eye fell on a cheap and affordable option, which was not inferior in terms of driving characteristics to such giants of the automotive industry as Ford and General Motors. Time after time Toyota managed to sell its cars, then, in the late 60s, released the legendary Corolla brand, which became the most popular car in the world. Her achievement was even included in the Guinness Book of Records. The model turned out to be so popular that it underwent 11 rebirths. The last 12 incarnation appeared on the market quite recently.
In the 80s of the last century, another significant change took place, which radically changed the idea of Toyota. In the wake of the economic boom in Japan and the distancing of the war horrors of the middle of the century, the manufacturer created a brand of luxury cars Lexus, which was significantly different from the budget and affordable brands.
Success did not turn the head of the company. On the contrary, she began to bring to mind those aspects that previously seemed insignificant. Gradually, the equipment of premium cars switched to budgetary ones, the model range expanded, new versions of existing cars underwent both external and internal changes, endlessly improved and brought to perfection.
Today Toyota is one of the largest manufacturers, famous for its build quality at affordable prices, a wide range of models and mass love of consumers.