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The Toyota success story is built on innovation, both in terms of its products and the processes by which they are made.

In 1918, Sakichi Toyoda revolutionised the weaving industry with his invention of an automatic loom. The proceeds from the sale of his patent to a British firm – Platt Brothers of Oldham – provided his son Kiichiro with the finances to make a start in the developing car industry. The pioneering work practices that Sakichi had developed for his loom business were easily adapted to the new automotive operation and in 1936 the first prototype car, the Toyoda AA, was completed.
The following year the Toyota Motor Corporation was formed. The name change from Toyoda was decided by a competition; the name Toyota was favoured, in part, because it comprises eight strokes in Japanese script, considered a lucky number. Toyota had a tough time establishing itself, as the Japanese car market was dominated by American imports from Ford and General Motors. World War II also threatened to destroy the enterprise, but Toyota survived.

 

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