24h Le Mans
Toyota’s between tradition and innovation
Toyota’s history is fully in line with Japan’s heritage and culture between millenary tradition and technical development. After almost a century’s existence Toyota is now the world leader in mobility and environmental technologies and in 2020 it sold 8,692,168 vehicles.
Toyotism, a Japanese philosophy for production
In 1937, Kiichiro Toyoda established the basis of Toyotisme whose aim is to produce according to demand without surplus and thus without loss. This approach rests on two principles: Jidoka – just in time – and Kaizen – continuous improvements.
The principle of continuous improvement was also at the heart of the early years of Toyota at the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the second half of the 1980s before the brand clinched its first podiums in the Sarthe from 1992 onwards.
From Toyoda to Toyota, the history of a name and a logo
In 1936, the D in Toyoda became T. This change fulfilled two objectives: differentiate the family dynasty from the company and facilitate the pronunciation of the brand’s name and thus its communications on the international scene. In Japanese calligraphy Toyota requires eight brushstrokes, a lucky number in Japanese culture and for the Nippon manufacturer as its three victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans have all been scored by car no. 8!
In October 1989, Toyota unveiled a brand-new logo consisting of three ellipses to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Two of them crisscross symbolising Toyota and its clients. The third that surrounds them represents our world in which the brand wants to flourish. The thick and thin strokes of this logo are a reference to the Japanese art of calligraphy. In addition, the symbol of the logo hides a playful challenge - decode the presence of all the letters making up the name Toyota.
A century of innovations
Sakichi Toyoda invents the first automatic loom in Japan.
Founding of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works (today Toyota Industries).
Creation of a division dedicated to the motor car under the management of Kiichiro Toyoda.
The brand develops it first prototype - the Type A.
Official creation of the Toyota Motor Company
Monthly production doubles. Toyota implants itself in the USA to develop a new market.
Koromo, the Toyoda family’s home town is renamed Toyota.
Beginning of research and development in hybrid technology.
First Toyotas sold in France.
10 million vehicles produced all over the world.
Launch of the first series-production hybrid car, the Toyota Prius.
Founding of the Toyota Research Institute to develop robotics and artificial intelligence.
Creation of Toyota Ventures for the development of new mobilities and hydrogen-powered engines
The temporary exhibition is open now and runs until 20 February 2022.
Head to Musée des 24 Heures du Mans to find out more.