Toyota Motor Corporation is a multinational Japanese conglomerate that has been in the business of manufacturing motorized vehicles for more than eight decades. The organization ranks as one of the biggest car makers in the world, closely battling with American brands General Motors and Ford and German Volkswagen Group.
Headquartered in Toyota city in Aichi prefecture in Japan, the company today has a global footprint spanning Asia, Middle East, North America, Latin America, The Caribbean, Oceania, Europe, and Africa. It operates 66 manufacturing and assembly plants and 15 research, development and design centers, and employs more than 350,000 worldwide. Toyota's expansive vehicle gallery include sedans, hatchbacks, sports cars, sports-utility vehicles (SUVs), multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), vans, buses, hybrids, and pickup trucks.
The car maker's long history started in 1933, when inventor Sakichi Toyoda established an automobile department within his company Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, a textile loom maker known today as Toyota Industries. The first vehicle, the Model G1 truck, was completed in 1935, while the first car, the Model AA, commenced production in 1936. When Japan halted nearly all imports in 1936, his son Kiichiro Toyoda took over the car operations. The company was split off in the following year, establishing the Toyota Motor Corporation. Changing the name from Toyoda to Toyota was supposedly aimed at making the name easier to pronounce.
In the 1940s, Toyota came up with new models, including highly innovative trucks, with the bigger the better trend continuing in the 1950s and 1960s. It also started making SA Toyopet, a low-cost vehicle designed to handle the rough post-war roads of Japan. Toyota managed to successfully market the second iteration, the SF Toyopet, with sales surging to 600,000 units annually in 1965 from only 8,400 annually in 1955. By 1962, Toyota was producing one million vehicles in Japan alone. This figure would escalate to 50 million by 1962. The manufacturing firm then built the Toyota Land Cruiser, a civilian truck that took design cues from the Dodge half-ton weapon carriers. In 1958, Toyota launched its first luxury car – the Crown. Thirty years later, in 1989 it would launch Lexus, its luxury car brand.
The year 1957 marked Toyota's foray into international markets, with the establishment of Toyota Motor Sales USA. In a span of ten years, Toyota had become an established brand in the United States, introducing models such as the Tiara or Corona, Avalon, and Camry.
Toyota opened a vehicle plant in Brazil, its first overseas site, in 1964, and one in Thailand, its first in Asia outside Japan, in 1972. The organization established in 1984 its first car assembly plant in the United Sates, a join venture with General Motors. In 1992, its first car plant in Europe began production in Britain. Over the years, Toyota also acquired shares in other industry players. It bought a majority stake in minivehicle manufacturer Daihatsu Motor in 1998 and in truck maker Hino Motors in 2001. It also took a minority share in Fuji Heavy Industries, who makes Subaru cars, for vehicle technology development cooperation and use of the latter's U.S. factory.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) was established in Aug. 3, 1988 as a joint venture involving GT Capital Holdings, Inc., Toyota Motor Corporation, and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. In the following year, it opened its first two dealerships in the country, namely Toyota Bel-Air Incorporated and Toyota Quezon City in February, with Toyota Shaw following suit in April and Toyota Alabang in September. In the following year, Toyota added two dealerships in Quezon City and opened Toyota Cebu, its first dealership outside the Metro Manila. By mid-2018, Toyota had a total of 67 dealers, 18 of which are in Metro Manila, 27 in Luzon provinces, 12 in Visayas, and 10 in Mindanao. These figures include those under Lexus Manila Inc, which launched its first dealership in the country in 2009.
In 1993, Toyota commenced operations of the 82-hectare Toyota Santa Rosa Industrial Complex in Laguna. Two years later, the facility, which is known today as Toyota Special Economic Zone (TSEZ), was recognized as a Special Economy Zone by the Philippine government. This means companies located inside the zone are given certain tax benefits. The vehicle plant, which mainly caters to the Southeast Asian region and Japan, has the capacity to produce over 51,000 units annually on two-shift production operations.
The Santa Rosa economic zone also houses Toyota Autoparts Philippines, Inc. (TAP), which manufactures constant velocity joint and G-type and R-type manual transmission that are used as components in Toyota cars. TAP, which started operations in 1990, plays an important role in Toyota's strategy in the Southeast Asia region. It currently exports 95% of its annual output to Toyota assembly factories in eleven countries.
In 1998, Toyota Motor Philippines became the first car manufacturer in the country to be awarded an ISO14001 certificate for environmental management. Toyota's initial product line for the Philippine market included the Crown, the Liteace, and the Corolla 16-Valve. The roster then expanded to include the Corona, the Camry, the Tamaraw FX, the Hiace, the Echo Verso, the Vios, the Innova, the Hilux, the Fortuner. More recent years would then see the sale of the Avanza, the Prius, the Wigo, the Alphard, and the Lexus cars. Toyota Philippines started domestic production of the Vios in 2003 and of the Innova in 2005.
Selling 25,740 units, the Vios was Toyota's bestselling model in the Philippines for 2018, replacing the Fortuner, which was the topnotcher in 2017. The latter fell in close second, having sold 23,082 units. Rounding up the top five top-selling models in the country are the Wigo, the Hilux, and the Innova, with 21,234 units, 18,287 units, and 18,175 units worth of sales, respectively.
The Toyota Vios is a subcompact sedan that has been a favorite among Filipino car owners and drivers since 20012. It comes in 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter dual VVTi engine options mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. This model is one of Toyota's most popular nameplates, having been embraced by Filipinos looking for a car for public or private use.
The Toyota Fortuner is an entry-level full-size SUV that has been in production since 2004. It shares its platform with one of Toyota's most popular pickups – the Hilux. In the Philippines, the Fortuner is sold gas or diesel engine options. The gas variant is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder petrol engine attached to a six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel option, on the other hand, comes in either a 2.3-liter diesel unit connected to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox or a 2.7-liter engine attached to a six-speed automatic unit.
The Toyota Wigo is an entry-level hatchback offering from Toyota. Even though it has been a while since it received any major update, this model continues to dominate sales charts for its minimalist styling and attractive price point. It is offered in 1.0-liter VVT-i engine paired with either an automatic or a manual transmission. The Hilux is Toyota's bestselling pickup trucks that is also constantly included in lists of 10 best-selling cars in the Philippines. It is offered in two 2.4-liter or 2.8-liter, four-cylinder diesel options attached to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. It was initially designed specifically for the American market but was eventually introduced overseas. It is known for its durability and sturdiness.
The Toyota Innova is a compact MPV. Delivering reliability, excellent ride quality, and some premium elements, this model enjoys a clear lead in its segment. Toyota offers the Innova in two engine options: a 2.0 liter petrol engine and a 2.8-liter diesel mill. Both may be paired with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential control.
The year 2018 was a challenging year for the Philippine automotive market as it got hit by a higher excise tax on vehicles and fuel. Nevertheless, Toyota managed to maintain its position as the top-selling manufacturer in the country, winning the Triple Crown for the 17th consecutive quarter. This means the company topped in terms of passenger car sales, commercial vehicle sales and overall sales. Having sold 153,000 units during the period, the Japanese car maker enjoyed a 38.2% market share even as it suffered a 17% year-on-year decline in sales volume.
In the Philippines, Toyota had an accumulated sales of over 1.5 million Toyota vehicles as of June 2018. The organization managed to increase its annual sales volume from a meager 9,500 units in its first year to a little less than 184,000 in 2017.
As of December 2018, it has 16 manufacturing facilities in the Japan and 50 more product sites scattered in different continents. Toyota has 15 design and research and development centers, some of which have multiple sites. Four of these organizations are in Japan, namely the Head Office Technical Center, the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center, the Tokyo Design Research and Laboratory, and the Shibetsu Proving Ground. Two are based in the United States, including Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. which has sites in Michigan, California, Arizona, and Washington D.C. and Calty Design Research, Inc. which has facilities in California and Michigan. In Asia, there is also the Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Engineering and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in Thailand, the Toyota Technical Center Asia Pacific Australia Pty. Ltd, and the China-based Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing (China) Co. Ltd. and Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. FAW Toyota R&D Center. In Europe, it has the Motor Europe NV/SA in Belgium and the United Kingdom, the Toyota Motorsport Gmbh in Germany, and the Toyota Europe Design Development in France.