Toyota Motor Corporation began in 1933 as a division of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer founded by Toyoda Sakichi. Its first production car, the Model AA sedan, was released in 1936. The following year the division was incorporated as the Toyota Motor Company, Ltd., an automotive spin-off headed by Toyoda Kiichiro, Sakichi’s son. However, faced with wrecked facilities and a chaotic economy, the company was forced to temporarily suspend its automotive production in the aftermath of World War II.
By the 1950s Toyota’s automobile production factories were back in operation, and to gain competitiveness the company began a careful study of American automobile manufacturers. In 1957 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., was established, and the following year the company released the Toyopet sedan, its first model to be marketed in the United States; it was poorly received because of its high price and lack of horsepower. Toyota kept its footing in the American market with the Land Cruiser, a 4×4 vehicle that was released in 1958. In 1965, Toyota re-released a completely redesigned Toyopet under the name ‘Toyota Corona’.