On this day in 1937 Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. is established. The history of Toyota began in 1933 when Toyoda Automatic Loom Works began a division devoted to automobile production. With encouragement from the Japanese Government due to a need for domestic vehicle production because of the war with China the company moved forward quickly with their development. The company produced its first engine in 1934 and the first car, a model A1 in May of 1935. The G1 Truck first rolled off the assembly line the following August. The vehicles were very similar to Chevrolets and Dodge Power Wagons of the time, with some parts being interchangeable.
The success of the company led to the formation of Toyota Motor Co, separate from the original Toyoda, which is now Toyota Group and still makes looms and sewing machines. The name was changed from Toyoda to Toyota because the number of strokes to write Toyota in Japanese characters (Kanji) is eight, a lucky number in East Asian culture, while Toyoda was nine strokes.
The company was nearly obliterated during WWII but the war ended just before a scheduled bombing raid of the Toyota factories. Following the war the company struggled to remain in business due to an extreme economic environment. In 1950 only 300 trucks were produced. When the US went to war with Korea the US government ordered 5,000 trucks from Toyota, putting them back in business for good. In 1957 the first Toyota, known as the Toyopet Crown, was exported to the United States.