Sakichi’s son, Kiichiro Toyoda, obtained his father’s permission to launch an automotive subsidiary in 1933. The Toyoda A1 was built in 1935, bearing striking similarities to the American products of the period. The successful G1 truck prototype, built that same year, was immediately put into mass production.
Toyota switched over to the Toyota name in 1936. Why? In Japanese Toyoda is comprised of 10 characters, while Toyota is only made up of 8, which happens to be a lucky number for the Japanese. The company’s first logo was thus born. A year later, Kiichiro Toyoda launches the Toyota Motor Corporation.
The toll of WWII almost sank the company, but they managed to survive over the next few decades to become a formidable player in the automotive industry, as they have grown into the world’s largest automotive manufacturer. Production, which was almost completely halted after the 2011 tsunami that hit Northeast Japan, topped the 9.75 million mark in 2012 (Toyota, Lexus, Hino, Daihatsu included).