Hello beautiful people, welcome to this week’s edition of Brand Story. Today, I bring to you the story of one of the world’s favourite automobile brands – TOYOTA!

A Brief History…


Toyota was started in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder’s son, Kiichiro Toyoda. Its first vehicles were the A1 passenger car and the G1 in 1935. The Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent company in 1937. In 2008, Toyota’s sales surpassed General Motors making Toyota number one in the world. Vehicles were originally sold under the name “Toyoda” (トヨダ), from the family name of the company’s founder, Kiichirō Toyoda.

What You Should KNow About The Name And Logo…


In 1936, Toyota entered the passenger car market with its Model AA and held a competition to establish a new logo emphasizing speed for its new product line. After receiving 27,000 entries, one was selected that additionally resulted in a change of its moniker to “Toyota” from the family name “Toyoda”. The new name was believed to sound better, and its eight-stroke count in the Japanese language was associated with wealth and good fortune. The original logo no longer is found on its vehicles, but remains the corporate emblem used in Japan. Interestingly, the two circles placed inside forms the first letter ‘T’ of the name ‘Toyota’.

Since “Toyoda” literally means “fertile rice paddies”, changing the name also prevented the company from being associated with old-fashioned farming. The newly formed word was trademarked and the company was registered in August 1937 as the “Toyota Motor Company”.

Creating More Product Brands…

Toyota then started to establish new brands at the end of the 1980s, with the launch of their luxury division Lexus in 1989.

 Quick Facts…

  • The Company has 300,747 employees as at 2012.
  • The third largest Automobile Manufacturer in the world as at 2011.
  • In July 2012, the company reported it had manufactured its 200millionth vehicle.
  • The Company is currently the eleventh-largest company in the world by revenue.
  • Toyota ranked eighth onForbes 2000list of the world’s leading companies for the year 2005but slid to 55 for 2011. The company was number one in global automobile sales for the first quarter of 2008.

Down Moments…

Wherever there is a great vision, challenges and obstacles are not far off. Between November 2009 to sometime in 2010, Toyota recalled more than 9 million cars and trucks worldwide in several recall campaigns and briefly halted production and sales due to alleged defective accelerator pedals. The faults included sticking accelerator pedals, and pedals caught under floor mats. On October 10, 2012 Toyota announced the recall of about 7.43 million vehicles worldwide due to malfunctioning power window switches.

Management: The Toyota Way…

Toyota’s management philosophy has evolved from the company’s origins and has been reflected in the terms “Lean Manufacturing” and Just In Time Production, which it was instrumental in developing. Toyota’s managerial values and business methods are known collectively as the Toyota Way.

In April 2001, Toyota adopted the “Toyota Way 2001″, an expression of values and conduct guidelines that all Toyota employees should embrace. Under the two headings of Respect for People and Continuous Improvement, Toyota summarizes its values and conduct guidelines with the following five principles:

  • Challenge
  • Kaizen (improvement)
  • Genchi genbutsu (go and see)
  • Respect
  • Teamwork

According to external observers, the Toyota Way has four components:

  1. 1.Long-term thinking as a basis for management decisions
  2. 2.A process for problem-solving
  3. 3.Adding value to the organization by developing its people
  4. 4.Recognizing that continuously solving root problems drives organizational learning

The Toyota Way incorporates the Toyota Production System.

We can see clearly from what we just read that Toyota didn’t become what it is because of its Logo, Colours or Name, but because it has defined values and conduct guidelines and takes corporate governance very serious.

Let me categorically state here that any organization that doesn’t define what values, conduct guidelines, and business methods to be embraced by its management and employees will most likely be a failure. It is the systems and methodical approaches applied to how things are done that engender a lasting BRAND out of a business. Values, practices, and standards adhered to forms the core of Brand Development.

toyota_camry_2013_carThe Camry is assembled in several facilities around the world including Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, India, Vietnam and the United States.

A Worldwide Presence….

Toyota has factories in most parts of the world, manufacturing or assembling vehicles for local markets. Toyota has manufacturing or assembly plants in Japan, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Colombia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Brazil, Portugal, and more recently, Argentina, Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Russia.

Toyota & Future Transportation…

According to the company on their website, “someday in the future, we imagine the perfect eco-car. We are investing today to advance the vehicles of tomorrow.” Hybrid technology is the foundation of Toyota’s approach to minimizing the environmental impacts of gasoline-powered vehicles. Knowledge gained from hybrid development and deployment is helping Toyota accelerate the introduction of future power trains that can utilize a wide variety of energy sources and fuels, including hydrogen, bio-fuel, natural gas and electricity.

toyota-priusToyota’s first hybrid – the Prius – accounts for half of all hybrids on the road in North America. The Prius began as an exploration of future technologies, but has evolved into a growing family of vehicles to suit various consumer needs. There is now a hybrid for everyone, including the 2012 Prius v.

The Growing List of Products….


Chances are that you know at least five (if not all) of the following Toyota brands: Camry, Hiace, Corolla, Yaris, Matrix, Sienna, Avalon, Hilux, Landcruiser, Prado, Highlander, Tundra, Rav4, Prius, Corona, Toyopet, Celica, Crossfire, and the list continues…


Great story so far and I can safely say ‘Toyota still has a lot to offer the world’!

Brand Genetics: Innovation and Kaizen [Continuous Improvement], Efficiency and Value for People.


[Research Sources: &]

Maple Dappa

Brands Consultant

Twitter: @mapledappa

We are building a platform of knowledge, information, & networking for forward thinking & enterprising young people as well as Brands across the #South-South & beyond!

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