It was October 31, 1957 when Toyota opened its North American headquarters in a once Rambler dealership in Hollywood, California. With them came the first Japanese car to be exported to and sold in the mainland United States. The Toyopet Crown.
The Toyopet was not initially a success story. A few problems hampered its acceptance. Starting with the name, broken down both Toy and Pet left it hard to be taken seriously in the U.S. car market. While it performed alright on Japan’s poor quality road network, it struggled to keep pace on America’s smooth, fast-flowing blacktop. When it eventually got to 60mph, a speed that was rare in Japan, the car apparently shuddered so much the driver couldn’t see out of the rear-view mirror.
It was also discovered that it did not do well at then popular drive-in restaurants because when the server skated to the vehicle and hung the tray on the steering wheel it pushed the bezel and activated the horn. The recently appointed Toyota sales administrator wasn’t impressed commenting: “This thing is underpowered, overpriced and it won’t sell.”
Toyota discovered it would need to do some upgrades to compete in this new market. They did and continue to do so. From its humble beginnings in a 3,000 square foot facility to its current presence in every state, including 10 manufacturing facilities and nearly 1,500 Toyota and Lexus dealerships and 136,000 direct dealer and supplier U.S. employees.
Who Knew? – Toyota a true success story, 60 years and still counting. Toyota’s list of award winning, record setting vehicle models is long. Its push of hybrid technology and now alternative hydrogen fuel vehicles brings it to the future, leading the way to autonomous vehicles, robotics, and advanced vehicle safety study at the recently launched Toyota Research Institute. Another success story of providing genuine Toyota parts and accessories quickly and at great prices for over 17 years is the online catalog at ToyotaPartsPeople.toyotaofpuyallup.com.