WHAT’S IN A LUCKY NAME?
When the Toyota Motor Corporation was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937, it was a division of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works that had been founded by his father.
The name of the new car company was changed to Toyota because when written in Katakana, it only takes eight strokes to write – and the number eight is a sign of good fortune in East Asian cultures.
For a while it seemed as though the good fortune was missing, however. By June 1950 the company had produced only 300 trucks. But then the Korean War was declared, and the USA ordered more than 5000 of them – which saved the company from bankruptcy.
COROLLA’S INCREDIBLE RECORD
The world’s most popular car is the Toyota Corolla, which is in such strong demand that one pops out of an assembly plant every 27 seconds. Such is the popularity of the car that it is the best-selling vehicle of all time – a title it earned in 2012.
It makes sense then that these days there are more Toyotas on the world’s roads than any other vehicle. Their reliability is up there too – latest statistics show that 80 per cent of Toyotas that were sold 20 years ago are still active and on the roads today.
FAME AND FORTUNE
For the third year in succession, Fortune magazine has named Toyota as one of the world’s most admired companies, and the No 1 motor vehicle company.
Toyota is also considered to be one of the world’s 50 smartest companies, according to the MIT Technology Review. It was one of just two automakers to receive this award.
THINKING OF THE FUTURE
There are more than 10 million vehicles on the world’s roads that are powered by Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. And the development work isn’t stopping there – Toyota is investing $1 million per hour in research and development across the world.
One such project is a flying car, that is planned to be used to help light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.