History of Toyota

Toyota's origins lie in the Japanese weaving industry when Sakichi Toyoda invented the world's first automatic loom and, subsequently, set up the Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Company in 1918. His invention reduced defects and increased yields since a loom stopped and would not go on producing imperfect fabric and using up thread after a problem occurred. This principle of designing equipment to stop automatically and call attention to problems immediately (jidoka) remains crucial to the Toyota Production System today.

The loom impressed a British Company, the Platt Brothers, so much that, in 1929, they bought the production and sales rights for £100,000. Sakichi gave those proceeds to his son, Kiichiro, to develop automotive technology at Toyoda. This in turn led to the launch of the Company's first ever passenger car in 1936, the Model AA, and in 1937, the Toyota Motor Company was born. Production of Toyota vehicles outside Japan began in 1959 in Brazil and now, besides its own plants, manufacturing subsidiaries and affiliates in Japan, Toyota manufactures Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles and components throughout the world.

Look back at the history of Toyota, starting with the birth of founder Sakichi Toyoda. It traces the company's development from 1937 when Toyota Motor Corporation was established to when the two millionth Prius hybrid was sold.

A banner celebrating 75 years of Toyota, featuring the tag-line 'ever-better-cars'

Early Toyota Models


Discover TOYOTA

TMUK Charitable Trust

Through the social contributions programme, over £6.3 million has been donated to charities and organisations by Toyota.

Lean Approach Seminars

Come directly to the source at our Burnaston state of the art manufacturing facility and learn more about Toyota's approach to manufacturing.

TOYOTA Glossary

Find the meaning behind the common terms used by Toyota.

TOYOTA and The Environment

At every stage of a vehicle's life, Toyota strives to protect the environment through reducing energy use and minimising waste.