5 Facts Every Toyota Fan Should Know

In addition to its reputation for making reliable, versatile vehicles, Toyota has established itself as a pioneer in engineering and technological innovation. The company’s journey, starting from its own city and ending with achievements on the roads and beyond, became a story that made it an auto giant and the largest car seller (based on the results of 2023). The Indy Auto Man auto experts have selected the five most fascinating facts from the brand’s path to the top.

1. Toyota is a separate city.

No one is saying that you need a city to produce cars, but Toyota is indeed a city in the Japanese prefecture of Aichi. The fact is that the company was originally called Koromo and for a long time was engaged in silk production until the beginning of the twentieth century when the topic of silk fell into decline. This forced Kiichiro Toyoda to look for alternative business options, and he eventually opened an automobile plant in 1938. Two decades later, Toyota became such a significant part of the region’s economy that the city was renamed in 1959. Created as a model city, it combines modern technology with green spaces, promoting the harmonious coexistence of nature and industrial production. Currently, there are six factories, a company headquarters, and many museums.

2. Toyota Prius is the most environmentally friendly car

The little Prius is the granddaddy of all modern hybrids. For years, it was derided as a car for environmentalists, but its influence on the auto industry was extremely profound. The latest-generation Prius went even further and began to look very attractive and, most importantly, even “greener” than ever before. According to the Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the 2024 Prius Prime SE is the greenest car on the market. This plug-in hybrid provides excellent fuel economy and power, low weight, minimal emissions and pollution during production. The company is committed to looking at the big picture, not just the car emissions, which gives the Prius an advantage over electric vehicles.

3. Toyota had a joint venture with General Motors.

United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) joint venture was born from General Motors’ desire to produce small, high-quality, fuel-efficient cars while learning from Toyota’s famous production system. Toyota‌ planned to gain a foothold in the US market and was getting an idea of what was needed here. They established a company based on an abandoned GM Fremont plant, notorious for its monstrous production organization and interruptions in work. The NUMMI plant, which opened in 1984, brought back 85% of Fremont’s former employees, but Toyota sent thirty of its managers to the plant, and GM sent sixteen. The Japanese company immediately began implementing its production system, which included sending workers to Japan for training, and in December of that year, the first car, the Chevrolet Nova, rolled off the production line. The plant assembled Hilux, Tacoma, Matrix, Corolla, and other models, but it was closed in 2010. After that, Elon Musk acquired the site, creating the Tesla Fremont plant.

4. The RAV4 was the fastest model in the lineup.

In the late 2010s, the RAV4 became one of the fastest cars in the lineup, thanks to the newly introduced 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6, which produced 269 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque sent to all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. This combination made it possible to accelerate to sixty miles per hour in just 6.3 seconds. The numbers were matched only by the V6 Camry, and many testers compared them. The RAV4 was faster than many, and the crossover was instantly nicknamed a hot rod, with enough room for the whole family. The dubious record stood until 2013 when the company abandoned the V6 in favor of a four-cylinder engine.

5. Toyota Tacoma has covered 1.5 million miles.

The most famous Tacoma was owned and driven by Mike Neal beginning in November 2007. The blue four-cylinder model, without all-wheel drive, helped Neal’s company deliver drugs to cancer patients throughout North Carolina and Virginia. Thanks to this important work, the pickup truck traveled approximately 500 miles per day (and more than 100 thousand per year), reaching 1,600,000 miles by the time of decommissioning (in 2023). Throughout its life, it mainly underwent scheduled maintenance, although after 540 thousand miles, it had the engine replaced and after 800 thousand – the transmission. Perhaps, the pickup would still be driving, but in 2023, its owner, unfortunately, died, ending the life of his Tacoma. The good news is that the truck has found its eternal rest in the dealership’s showroom, where its owner bought it nearly twenty years ago.