Toyota may seem like a fairly new automotive company in this country, but its history goes back more than seventy-five years. There are many surprising facts about the history of Toyota, not the least of which is the name itself. Sakichi Toyoda created groundbreaking designs, one of which brought the inventor enough money to found the Toyota Motor Company.
The change to the name from Toyoda to Toyota was supposedly meant to make it easier to pronounce. In the beginning, the company was supported in part by the Japanese government due to its military applications.
Toyoda’s son Kiichiro took control of the car operations after Japan stopped nearly all imports in 1936. The first vehicles he produced had two cylinders, soon to be replaced by vehicles that copied the design of the Chevrolet 65 hp straight-six with some features coming from the Chrysler Airflow. Toyota produced their first engine in 1934, with the first car and truck following in 1935. However, two years later in 1937, the company was split off.