Stories and Logo Series: Toyota

January 17,2017

Every car brand has a heritage of its own. Some manufacturers have been around for more than a hundred years, and some started in a totally different sector. Even the logos of these car brands have a fascinating origin story. No matter what car you are driving, it’s always good to know the history behind a machine where you spend two hours or more on a daily basis.


The next car in our logo series is none other than Toyota.


Toyota stands as one of the undoubted giants of the automotive industry, but don’t be too quick to assume you know everything about it. We can assure you they have an interesting history. So all of you car aficionados get ready for some treats; we’re ready to bet no one will look at their Toyota in the same way after reading this article!


Toyota Motor Corp became the largest auto manufacturer in 2015 and includes 5 brands: Toyota, Hino, Ranz, Daihatsu, and Lexus. However, it was not always best known for its cars. In fact, Toyota owes its greatest success to their textile looms (machines that weave) business, which they are still operating in and was known as Toyoda Automatic Loom Works.



Kiichiro Toyoda, son of Sakichi, got his inspiration for the first Toyota car from the United States. He traveled to the US in 1929 to investigate automobile production because Japan needed to start producing their own domestic vehicles due to their war with China. That’s why early Toyota cars bear a striking resemblance to the Dodge Power Wagon and Chevrolet.


Early cars produced by the company were originally sold with a "Toyoda" emblem. In 1936, the company ran a public competition to design a new logo, which led to a change in the brand name. From then on, the company was known as "Toyota".


This new logo represents "To-yo-ta" spelled in Katakana, one of the Japanese phonetic alphabets. It was used as the Toyota logo starting 1936. One reason why Toyota was used instead of Toyoda was because the number of strokes in the Japanese word Toyota (eight). Eight is considered to bring luck and prosperity because of its shape that suggests further growth. Eight is also the number of Nagoya city of Japan, from which the company originates.


Introduced in 1989, this new logo was adopted because of the brand’s need to change to Toyota when going international in order to redefine the brand.


The logo includes three ovals: the two perpendicular ovals inside the larger one represent both the heart of the customer and the heart of the company. They are overlapped to represent a mutually beneficial relationship and the trust that binds the two stakeholders. This shape also forms Toyota’s "T", and a steering wheel when taking into consideration the outer oval. Each oval is contoured with different stroke thicknesses; similar to the "brush" art known in Japanese culture.



Fun Facts:

  • Even though Toyota was launched in Japan, the company has created more than 365,000 jobs in the United States.
  • The Korean War saved Toyota. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy, producing 300 trucks in June of 1950. In the first months of the Korean War, the US ordered more than 5,000 Toyota vehicles, thus reviving the company.
  • Toyota invests one million dollars every hour in research and development worldwide.
  • Eight vehicles manufactured by Toyota won the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study.
  • The Corolla is the highest selling car in the world with 40 Million sales ahead of VW golf.
  • Since 1966, Toyota has been manufacturing and selling a Corolla every 37 seconds on average. As of 2013, the rate has reached 27 seconds on average, which is mind-boggling.
  • In 1936, 27,000 people submitted logos in a contest for Toyota’s logo the TEQ.