1950's & 1960's
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., was formed October 31, 1957, establishing its headquarters in a former Rambler dealership in Hollywood, California. Sales began in 1958 and totaled a modest 288 vehicles -- 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser.
Enthusiasm turned to gloom when it was found that the Toyopet, a sturdy vehicle with quality features and room to spare, was woefully underpowered and overpriced for the American market. Toyopet sales stalled and were discontinued in 1961. The legendary Land Cruiser, which quickly gained a reputation as a durable, all-terrain vehicle, carried the Toyota flag in the United Sates until 1965 when the Toyota Corona arrived.
Corona, the first popular Toyota in America, was designed specifically for American drivers. With a powerful engine, factory-installed air conditioning and an automatic transmission, Corona helped increase U.S. sales of Toyota vehicles threefold in 1966 to more than 20,000 units.
The thrifty Corolla was introduced in 1968 and, like the Corona, was a huge success with American drivers. Corolla has since become the world’s all-time best-selling passenger car, with 27 million sold in more than 140 countries.
As more Americans discovered the quality and reliability of Toyota products, sales continued to soar. By July 1967, Toyota had become the third-best-selling import brand in the United States.
1970's & 1980's
In 1972 Toyota sold its one-millionth vehicle. By the end of 1975, Toyota surpassed Volkswagen to become the No. 1 import brand in the United States. Three years later, in 1978, Toyota won the "Import Triple Crown" by leading all import brands in sales of cars, trucks and total vehicles.During the 1970s, Toyota launched some of its most memorable marketing campaigns, using tag lines that included "You Asked For It/You Got It!" and the hit "Oh What A Feeling!" campaign that included the popular "Toyota Jump."
As Toyota celebrated its 25th anniversary in America during 1982, it opened a new national sales headquarters complex that it occupies today in Torrance, California. Toyota's success continued, and in 1986, it became the first import automaker to sell more than one million vehicles in America in a single year, racking up sales of 1,025,305 cars and trucks. That year also marked the company's debut as a manufacturer in the United States, with the rollout of the first Toyota car built on American soil. The vehicle, a white Corolla FX16, was produced on October 7, 1986, at the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. plant, a joint venture with General Motors.
Since then, Toyota has established many other vehicle and parts plants in North America. By 2010, Toyota will have the annual capacity to build about 2.2 million cars and trucks and 1.45 million engines in 15 plants across North America, including the states of California, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi.
As Toyota's presence in America grew, the company sought a larger role in communities across the nation. So, to commemorate the company's 30th anniversary in America in 1987, Toyota established the Toyota USA Foundation with a $10 million endowment and a mission to make Toyota a leading corporate citizen.
In 1989, Toyota branched out by establishing a luxury line of vehicles with the debut of the Lexus LS 400 and the ES 250. Highly acclaimed cars, plus exceptional customer service quickly became the hallmark of Lexus.
In 1991, Lexus earned the title of No. 1 luxury import in the United States, surpassing both Mercedes Benz and BMW. That year, the brand also dominated three independent J.D. Power and Associates quality surveys, being named top nameplate in Customer Satisfaction, Sales Satisfaction and Initial Quality.
Toyota continued its strong growth through the 1990s. A highpoint came in December 1997 when the Toyota Camry first earned the title of No.1-selling passenger car in America. Toyota also launched its first full-sized pickup, the Tundra, in 1998.
Toyota marked the start of the new millennium with the launch of the Prius, the world's first mass-produced gas/electric hybrid car. Prius, which in Latin means "to go before", was revolutionary, featuring an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 45-city/51 highway and ultra-clean tailpipe emissions that were 90 percent less in smog-forming gases than conventional cars at the time.
By the end of 2000, following its tag line, "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection," Lexus edged Mercedes Benz by 423 units to became the top-selling luxury brand in the United States, a position it has held for nine years running.
May 2001 marked the incorporation of Toyota Motor Sales de Mexico, Toyota's new sales and marketing subsidiary in Mexico. By the end of the year, Toyota had grown to become the third-best-selling automotive brand in the United States, surpassing Dodge with best-ever sales of 1,741,254 vehicles.
In December of 2002, Toyota delivered its first two zero-emission, market-ready hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to customers in California for real-world testing. The next year, Toyota's new, breakthrough hybrid technology, "Hybrid Synergy Drive," debuted in the all-new 2004 Prius.
Toyota's growth in America continued in 2003 when Toyota launched Scion as its third line of vehicles. The Scion line features three modestly priced but feature-rich vehicles brought to market by most Toyota dealers under an innovative, youth-oriented marketing program. Scion was a success, and in 2004, Toyota's U.S. sales topped two million vehicles per year for the first time.
In 2005, Toyota continued expanding its environmentally advanced lineup with the introduction of the world’s first luxury hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h, and a hybrid option for the Toyota Highlander.
Toyota added a hybrid option to its popular Camry sedan in 2006 and began building it in the United States at its massive Kentucky plant. The company also opened up its 10th U.S. plant in San Antonio, Texas, to build full-size pickups. In addition, the company launched the FJ Cruiser with a design that harkens to the early years of the rugged Land Cruiser, the only vehicle Toyota has continuously sold throughout its entire 50-year history in America. As a result, sales surged to more than 2.5 million for the first time and Toyota established itself as the third best-selling automotive company in the United States.
During 2007, its 50th year in America, Toyota introduced its largest pickup truck ever, the rugged 2008 Toyota Tundra, as well as the second-generation of its iconic Scion xB urban utility vehicle and the world’s first V8 hybrid, the Lexus LS 600h.
As a result of an economic recession, Toyota’s sales were down 2008, but the Toyota brand outsold Chevrolet to become the No. 1-selling automotive brand in America and Camry retained its crown as the No 1-selling car in the nation for the 11th time in 12 years. Toyota also passed General Motors in global sales to become the world’s largest automaker for the first time in history.
With the dawn of 2009, Toyota is preparing to launch two all-new gas/electric hybrids: the third-generation Prius, with an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 50 miles per gallon in combined driving, and the first, dedicated hybrid from Lexus, the HS 250h.
Toyota...moving people forward in America for over 50 years...and the best is yet to come.
Toyota vehicles and components are built using U.S. and globally source parts