Toyota's history can be traced back over one hundred years, when in 1897, Sakichi Toyoda was the first man in Japan to manufacture a powered loom. As time passed Sakichi would go on to have eighty four different patents passed relating to his engineering work with looms. Having established the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Sakichi would go on to sell the rights to the Toyoda G type automatic loom to the largest British company in the business, Platt Brothers, for One Hundred Thousand pounds, an incredible amount of money when equated to today's equivalent.
With this vast sum of money, Sakichi decided he would not merely invest back into his loom company, but instead handed it to his son Kiichiro, who had just returned from visiting car manufacturers in America and Europe. With this investment Kiichiro began the Automotive Department of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. The name of the cars they produced was Toyota, not Toyoda, simply because it takes eight strokes of a pen to write and eight is a lucky number in Japanese society and also because it separated the founders work life from his home life.
During the Pacific war, Toyota manufactured extremely basic trucks for the government and were lucky that the war ended before a planned air attack on their factory took place. In 1947 with the war over, Toyota released the model SA and so began commercial car production on a larger scale. The 1960's saw Toyota expanding globally and towards the end of the decade, with the export of its one-millionth vehicle, Toyota was now a truly worldwide competitor.
Concentrating on smaller, well-produced cars, with better fuel economy would prove to be a major advantage as in 1973 there was an oil crisis, American manufacturers regarded small cars as entry models and as such quality was not a priority, Toyota on the other hand had great experience with the Japanese customers who demanded small fuel efficient manufactured to the highest standards, due to this Toyota rapidly expanded its growth and presence in North America.
The 1980's saw Toyota expand its range in many different directions and by the end of the decade they had also launched the Lexus range of luxury cars, taking even more of the market share. Further new models were released during the nineties expanding Toyota's range to become one of the largest of any manufacturer. Shortly after the millennium Toyota released what was to become the most popular hybrid car, the Toyota Prius showing their commitment to advancing through technology.
So what of Toyota in the naughties, market share continues to grow and in some months of 2006 Toyota passed Ford to become the second largest auto manufacturer. It is widely expected that in the next couple of years Toyota will take the coveted number one spot from GM to become the largest manufacturer of motor cars in the world, as for the Looms, they are still made and form a part of Toyota Industries.
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