View Basket
Show All Products
  • Exact colour match
  • 150,000 colours available
  • Great customer service

The innovative history of Toyota

One of the top car manufacturers in the world started out weaving cloth rather than burning rubber. Toyota began as a division of Toyoda, a family-run loom business. After some success with automatic loom innovation, the family moved into the car business, which had already taken off in the US and Europe. 

As with many car manufacturers, there’s a real, human story behind the founding of Toyota - a story of vision and commitment to innovation that has had a lasting impact. 

From Toyoda to Toyota

Toyota was founded in 1933 as a department within the Toyoda family’s established loom works. Only in 1937 was it incorporated as its own entity under Kiichiro Toyoda. 

Kiichiro’s father Sakichi, owner of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, was a passionate inventor who was awarded 45 industrial property rights in Japan and 62 overseas patents too. One of his inventions, which probably contributed to the car empire we know today, was Japan’s first power loom (patented in 1897). 

In 1925 Sakichi partnered with the Imperial Institute of Invention and Innovation to establish the Toyoda Research Office to develop a storage battery. Meanwhile, his son had been researching how other people built cars.

Emerging from the ruins

Kiichiro had been in Tokyo on the day of the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1923, which devastated the city and surrounding area. He was researching car technology. It would be exactly 10 years before he established the Automotive Production Division, which would eventually become the Automotive Department in Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, and finally, in 1937, Toyota Motor Company. 

But in 1923, with railway infrastructure in ruins, cars became an indispensable means of transport overnight - and US car manufacturers, who were streets ahead in efficiency and prompt delivery of orders, dominated the Japanese market. 

Kiirchiro and his father continued researching and planning. The Automotive Department of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works contributed to two prototypes of a car in 1932 - the Atsuta, a large luxury vehicle that was financially unviable. 

By 1933, the Automotive Department was building its own prototypes and planning to go solo as a company in its own right. Kiichiro bought land to establish a production plant.

Toyota’s first production car

In 1936, while the Toyota empire, complete with a test track and an aircraft research building, was literally being constructed, Toyota’s first production car, the Model AA sedan, was released.

The AA was a fully enclosed 4-door sedan inspired by the Chrysler DeSoto Airflow. It had a metal body on a metal chassis, a bold evolutionary step away from the fabric-on-wooden-frame bodies of the cars from the previous decade. 

Toyota was incorporated in 1937, though its official anniversary is in 1938. The company built a replica of the AA for its 50th birthday in 1987. 

Just after the company’s 70th birthday, an original AA - albeit with extreme modifications and suffering from neglect - was found and is now on show in the Louwman Museum, Netherlands.

You can read more about this in the official history of Toyota, which has to be one of the most thorough and insightful founding stories of a car manufacturer, ever.

Toyota models through the decades

  • 1930s - Toyota AA
  • 1940s - Toyota AC
  • 1950s - Toyota Corona
  • 1960s - Toyota Sports 100, their first sports car
  • 1970s - Toyota Starlet 
  • 1980s - Toyota MR2
  • 1990s - Toyota Yaris
  • 2000s - Toyota Prius
  • 2010s - Toyota Verso

The modern Toyota

Some old forecourt favourites have lasted - the Toyota Aygo X is the entry-level city car of the day, an evolution of the popular Aygo that began production in 2005. The Yaris and the Rav4 are also going strong, and Sakichi Toyota’s curiosity about new technology has survived - many models are now hybrid, battery electric or hydrogen cell powered.

Toyota car paint colour profile

Modern Toyotas come in a range of car paint colours:

  • Pure White
  • Decuma Grey Metallic
  • Silver Metallic
  • Eclipse Black Metallic
  • Titan Bronze Metallic
  • Platinum White Pearl Pearlescent
  • Scarlet Flare Pearlescent
  • Urban Khaki
  • Obsidian Blue Metallic
  • Tokyo Red Pearlescent
  • Avant-garde Bronze Metallic

Classic car paint for older Toyotas like the Starlet, MR2 and the early Yaris have charming vintage names like Meteoric Brown, Colosseum Beige Metallic, Orbit Blue, Bellatrix Yellow, Prussian Red Pearl, and Desert Dune Metallic.

Car touch up paint for Toyota models

Toyota car paint is available in all the colours listed above, plus any manufacturer discontinued paint colours or limited editions. PaintNuts can mix all these colours for colour match touch up car paint, available as a high precision pen, bottle and brush or car spray paint/aerosol. Just look up your colour code using your car reg, and off you go.

Find the right product for you

Use our tool to find the right PaintNuts product to give your vehicle a professional looking repair.