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The internationalization of the company began in 1958, when Toyota started marketing cars in the United States. The first two vehicles imported to the U.S. were the Toyopet and Land Cruiser. Even though the Land Cruiser had better margins, the Toyopet set up for the strategy of a car modified specifically for the American market. We are very familiar with these models still today; they are the Avalon and the Camry. Brazil was the first country in which Toyota constructed a production plant outside of its national borders; this took place in the year of 1959. One very important philosophy the company went by was to localize both the production and the design of its vehicles. This philosophy developed long-term relationships with local suppliers and labor considering the adaptation of products to the locality of use, along with production being there as well. This action gave forth to the implementation of R&D and design facilities in North America and Europe.
The first truly Americanized Toyota was the Tiara, also known as the Toyota Corona PT20. This vehicle hit the market in 1964. The car could hold up to 6 people and had about ninety horses under the hood.
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Toyota became well established in the United States by 1967. The Corona was competing against the Volkswagen Beetle which was an insult. The Corona was known for its low price and high quality, but rust became a depreciating factor. After the Corona was denounced, Toyota brought the Crown to the U.S. The Crown was offered as a wagon or even as a sedan. It carried a 137 cubic inch in-line six-cylinder engine that boasted a whopping 115 horsepower. The engine was small but had seven main bearings, tuned induction, semi-hemispherical heads, and was built with light weight alloys. This vehicle came with a four-speed manual tranny which was actually rare at the time. One striking feature the Crown offered was the three-point seat belts, and not to mention reclining bucket seats. The Crown was not a huge success but surely outdid most foreign imports. Some other notable features were the handling, smooth ride, and quiet interior.
Soon enough Toyota announced that they would bring the famous but rare 2000GT to the U.S. This unique car was quite similar to that of British sports cars having a huge hood and pretty much no trunk. The 200GT eventually set 16 world speed and endurance records by 1966. This special Japanese vehicle embraced a dual overhead cam six-cylinder engine along with a five-speed manual transmission. This sports car was not top ranked in the acceleration category but most definitely made up for it with it’s cornering. The quarter-mile was decent showing up at 15.9 seconds.
The strong reputation for reliability and durability was in focus of the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla became America’s favorite small car shortly after it was imported in 1969.
While the Crown, which was mentioned earlier, and the Cressida were fairly luxurious cars the sales lacked dramatically. In the 1980’s Toyota started thinking seriously about its lagging luxury sales while Lincoln and Cadillac’s luxurious reputation plummeted. When Lincoln relegated to the limousine and car-service industry it opened up an even larger opportunity for Toyota to penetrate the luxury market. Cadillac also contributed to this opportune moment by barely disguising their Cavalier. So its simple, the Luxury car market was there for the taking, with very little competition. Shoiji Jimbo initialized the market research process for the Lexus name in 1985 by attending many focus groups and interviewing dealers. The first running prototype appeared in July 1985, with an astounding 450 running prototypes built as Lexus spared no expense to defeat Mercedes and other luxury names. Lexus surely outdid its competition. Finally, in 1987, the final design was affirmed after the eights presentation to management. LS400 was designated as the name of the first model of the Lexus which appeared in 1989. This Model was a huge success considering its elevated levels of luxury and reliability, not to mention the much lower price compared to Mercedes. Lexus would remain the leader in passenger car comfort and reliability through the 21st century. In the year of 1988 Toyota implemented a three year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.
Toyota began the production of the Scion in the early 2000’s with three different cars that were off the platform of the old Echo. Out of these three models there are three different engines, one for the smaller xA and another for the xB, and then there is the 2.4 liter engine for the sportier tC. In the early introduction of the Scion sales were very strong. This led to a nation-wide launch without a large amount of advertising, which noticeably did well. At the kick off of the Scion, Toyota was interested in attracting a younger crowd; even though it did attract a some what younger customer base then that of the Lexus and Toyota. People who analyzed the automotive industry interpreted the addition of the Scion to be the result of Toyota’s buyers becoming older.
Currently, Toyota has taken the main stage by being the world’s third largest manufacturer in not only sales figures but in net sales likewise. In the United States along, Toyota has considerably double the sales of Honda, and is in contentions to knock out Chrysler Group to supersede the number three spot. Toyota assembles over 5.5 million automobiles each year, equaling one car every six seconds.
A major difference lacking to be pointed out is how German companies use numbers, and U.S. vehicles use names dissimilar to the attributes of the car; while Toyota has used very few names but have stuck with them for decades. Some notable names are the Land Cruiser, Corolla, Celica, Camry, and 4Runner. Each of these car names has been around for a very long time period achieving a large amount of popularity.