Toyota USA opened its doors on October 31, 1957. In its first full year of sales, the division sold 288 vehicles total: 287 Toyopet Crowns, and one Land Cruiser. The company almost gave up the US market, but persevered. Today, it’s built 25 million cars in the US.
As the video shows, Toyota began its US manufacturing in 1972 by building pickup truck beds in Long Beach, California. Back then, That was a way to bypass the chicken tax tariff that said if a truck was assembled in the US, it would avoid hefty import fees. The location of the plant was important, as that’s where most Toyotas arrived in the US.
Toyota’s Calty design studio opened a year later, where the second-generation Celica became the first US-designed Toyota. In 1977, a R&D facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan was opened, and footage shows cars being dynoed there likely for emissions testing. It’s also makes this the likely the only Toyota video that will feature Datsun 510. 1986 saw Toyota’s first full US assembly plant in the US in Georgetown, Kentucky, now its largest in globally. Not bad, for a company that started out building weaving looms.