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Toyota’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, was born in 1894 to Sakichi Toyoda, the inventor of the automatic loom. Toyoda finished his first two vehicle prototypes in 1935 and two years later he began marketing his G1 truck and A1 passenger car through his newly-established company, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.
In 1950, the company changed its name to Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. and established its U.S. operations in 1957. Today, Toyota is one of the largest auto retailers in America with investments of over $18 billion in the U.S. economy.
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History of Toyota in the U.S.
From its headquarters in Hollywood, California, Toyota began importing the luxury Toyopet Crown and the rugged Land Cruiser. The Crown fared poorly in the U.S. market, but the Land Cruiser gained a following that carried Toyota until it began importing the popular Corona passenger car in 1965. The Corona drove Toyota’s U.S. sales above the 20,000 unit mark but this was nothing compared to the popularity of the Toyota Corolla which debuted in 1968. The Corolla is currently the best-selling passenger car in the world with sales of over $27 million globally.
Toyota’s U.S. sales climbed even higher during the 1970s when it hit 1 million units sold and became the #1 imported auto brand in the United States. During the next decade, Toyota began manufacturing vehicles on U.S. soil. It assembled its first “American-made” Toyota Corolla in 1986 and launched its Lexus luxury brand three years later. By 1991, Lexus would become the top-ranked imported luxury car brand in the USA surpassing BMW and Mercedes.
Throughout the 1990s, Toyota continued to expand its product line. The Toyota Camry became America’s best-selling family car in 1997, and in 1998 Toyota launched its first pickup truck, the Toyota Tundra. In 2000, Toyota continued its expansion by introducing the revolutionary hybrid Prius. It launched its new Scion line in 2003, and it also produced hybrid versions of popular Toyota models like the Highlander and Camry.
Just as Toyota surpassed GM to become the largest car maker in the world in 2008, it encountered a series of pitfalls from which it is still recovering. The 2008 financial crisis led to the largest loss in the company’s 72-year history. Then, just as the company regained its footing in 2009, it was forced to issue a series of recalls that damaged the company’s impeccable reputation for quality and safety. While recovering from the lawsuits and government fines that resulted from these recalls, Toyota’s supply chain was severely disrupted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that struck northern Japan.
Toyota Operations in the U.S.
As of 2010, Toyota directly employed over 28,000 American workers and indirectly employed almost 164,000. Toyota assembles the Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks in Texas, where it employs nearly 2,000 workers. It makes the Sienna minivan, the Sequoia SUV and the Highlander SUV in Indiana, where it has invested millions of dollars. The Toyota Avalon and Camry sedans and the Venza crossover are assembled in Kentucky where Toyota has over 8,000 employees. Toyota is also currently building a Prius assembly plant in Mississippi where it will employ approximately 2,000 workers.
One of the best-selling hybrid cars on the market, U.S. News and World Report designated the Toyota Prius as its 2011 “Best Hybrid Car for the Money.” The Prius offers some of best fuel economy ratings available at 51 city mpg and 48 highway mpg with IntelliChoice rating it the “Best Overall Value of the Year” for the past nine years, including 2011. The Toyota Prius has the highest owner loyalty for any midsize car as well. Toyota also offers hybrid versions of its popular Camry sedan and Highlander SUV.
Toyota Cars and Minivans
The Toyota Camry and Corolla are some of the most popular cars on the U.S. market. The Corolla is the best-selling compact car in the United States overall, and has been the best-selling small car each year for the past eight years in a row. The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling midsize car in America for 13 out of the past 12 years, and it has earned a plethora of awards from SmartChoice for its value and reliability.
The Toyota Matrix, the subcompact Yaris, and the larger Avalon are not as popular or critically acclaimed as the Corolla or the Camry, but Toyota’s Sienna minivan did tie with the Honda Odyssey for first place in U.S. News’ rankings. The Sienna was also one of Popular Mechanics’ “Top 10 Cars of 2011,” and Kelley Blue Book selected it as the 2011 minivan with the best resale value.
Toyota Pickup Trucks
The Toyota Tacoma is the #1-rated compact pickup truck on the market, according to U.S. News and MotorIntelligence.com reports that it has been America’s best-selling compact pickup truck since 2005. Kelley Blue Book selected the 2011 Tacoma for its list of vehicles with the top-ten best resale values. The full-size 2011 Toyota Tundra is less popular and not as well-liked by critics. It is ranked 5th out of 8 full-size pickups rated by U.S. News.
Toyota SUVs and Crossovers
The Toyota RAV4 is ranked #1 in U.S. News’ “Affordable Compact SUV” category, and the Toyota Highlander ranks 4th out of 23 entrants in the “Affordable Midsize SUV” category. Insure.com also recognized the 2-wheel drive Highlander as having some of the lowest car insurance costs in its class. The Toyota Sequoia tied with the Chevy Suburban for 2nd place in the “Affordable Large SUV” class. Other medium and large SUVs manufactured by Toyota include the FJ Cruiser, the 4Runner, and the Land Cruiser. Toyota also makes the Venza crossover, which is an innovative SUV that uses the Camry platform.
How much is car insurance for a Toyota?
Even with some recent negative PR surrounding Toyota vehicles these cars are still highly respected by car insurance companies and almost all good drivers will find very affordable car insurance no matter what Toyota they choose. How much your car insurance rates are will depend on a number of factors so enter your Zip code above to compare car insurance quotes today.
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