By Rod Ward
Toyota is now the leading car manufacturer in the world by sales volume. This publication tells the story of how it reached that position. Originally a manufacturer of weaving looms, Toyota was transformed into a motor vehicle manufacturing company by Kiichiro Toyoda, the entrepreneurial son of the founder, Sakichi Toyoda. Toyota, almost uniquely among postwar Japanese car makers, did not take the easy route of building cars under licence from European makers to get into the postwar car market. Instead they chose to plough their own furrow, though they were not above copying successful vehicle designs as a short-cut to an engineering solution. Export sales were always the key to Toyota expansion, and after selling their Japanese-built cars around the world, the next stage was to put together a worldwide network of vehicle-building factories. Joint agreements with Hino (makers of large trucks) and Daihatsu (makers of small cars) enabled Toyota to concentrate development on the profitable ‘middle ground’ of car sales. There were expensive excursions into endurance racing and Formula 1, but Toyota usually stuck to what it does best; making best-selling cars for world market.
The story of Toyota is told here, trucks and buses as well as cars, plus the Lexus luxury brand, and UK production in Derbyshire.