Toyota Motor Corporation is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan, and is currently the world's largest Toyota parts and automobile maker. It began life in 1934 as a department of Toyota Industries, where there was a significant amount of research taking place into the development of Toyota parts and in 1936 created its first product its first passenger car the Toyota AA. The small division under the direction of Kiichiro Toyoda spun off from his father's company Toyota Industries to specifically develop Toyota parts and automobiles. Toyota currently owns and operates Lexus and Scion brands and has a majority shareholding stake in Daihatsu Motors, and minority shareholdings in Fuji Heavy Industries Isuzu Motors, and Yamaha Motors. Toyota has grown to a large multinational corporation from where it started and expanded to different worldwide markets and countries by becoming the largest seller of cars and Toyota parts in the beginning of 2007.
Between the 70's and the 90's, due to the 1973 oil crisis consumers in the lucrative U.S. market began turning to small cars with better fuel economy. American car manufacturers had considered small economy cars to be an "entry level" product, and their small vehicles were made at too a low level of quality in order to keep the price low. Japanese customers, however, had a long-standing tradition of demanding small fuel-efficient cars that were manufactured to a high level of quality like those found in Toyota parts. Because of this, companies like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan established a growing presence in North America in the 1970s.
In the 1990s Toyota began to branch out from producing mostly Toyota parts and compact cars by adding many larger and more luxurious vehicles to its lineup, including a full sized pickup, several lines of SUVs, and a group of several affordable, yet sporty, automobiles targeted specifically to young adults. Even in these endeavors the company maintains committed to its smaller models, a choice that is again proving to be a success given the current fuel price crisis.
With high gas prices and a weak US economy in the summer of 2008, Toyota reported a double-digit decline in sales for the month of June for certain Toyota parts and vehicles, similar to figures reported by the Detroit Big Three. For Toyota, this drop in sales was attributed mainly to slow sales of its Tundra pickup, as well as stock shortages of its fuel-efficient Toyota parts vehicles such as the Prius, Corolla and Yaris. In response, the company has announced plans to idle its truck plants, while shifting production at other facilities to manufacture the more fuel efficient in demand vehicles.
Toyota is one of the largest companies to push hybrid Toyota parts and vehicles in the market and the first to commercially mass-produce and sell such vehicles. The company eventually began providing this Toyota parts option on the main smaller cars, and later added the option to its Luxury automobile divisions leading to the production of luxury vehicles. It labeled such technological Toyota parts, Hybrid Synergy Drive, and Lexus Hybrid Drive respectively. Toyota is speeding up the development of Toyota parts and vehicles that run only on electricity with the aim of mass-producing them in the early part of next decade. Road tests for the current prototype, called "e-com", had ended in 2006. The Toyota part, Hybrid Synergy drive is the most widely rolled out environment friendly system in the automotive industry to date. More than 1,000,000 units have been sold. Toyota committed to the continual development of Toyota parts and eventually making every car of Toyota a hybrid vehicle.
Toyota parts and vehicles are not competitively priced, but the availability of Toyota parts makes it easier and more convenient for owners to maintain their vehicles.