1950's & 1960's
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., was formed October 31, 1957, establishing its headquarters in a former Rambler dealership in Hollywood, California. Sales began in 1958 and totaled a modest 288 vehicles -- 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser.
Enthusiasm turned to gloom when it was found that the Toyopet, a sturdy vehicle with quality features and room to spare, was woefully underpowered and overpriced for the American market. Toyopet sales stalled and were discontinued in 1961. The legendary Land Cruiser, which quickly gained a reputation as a durable, all-terrain vehicle, carried the Toyota flag in the United Sates until 1965 when the Toyota Corona arrived.
Corona, the first popular Toyota in America, was designed specifically for American drivers. With a powerful engine, factory-installed air conditioning and an automatic transmission, Corona helped increase U.S. sales of Toyota vehicles threefold in 1966 to more than 20,000 units.
The thrifty Corolla was introduced in 1968 and, like the Corona, was a huge success with American drivers. Corolla has since become the world’s all-time best-selling passenger car, with 27 million sold in more than 140 countries.
As more Americans discovered the quality and reliability of Toyota products, sales continued to soar. By July 1967, Toyota had become the third-best-selling import brand in the United States.