WHAT’S IN A LUCKY NAME?

South Canterbury Herald - - MOTORING -

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.

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