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TIMELINE: Milestones in Toyota's 70-year history
February 10, 2008 / 12:05 AM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE: Milestones in Toyota's 70-year history

(Reuters) - Seventy years since its founding, Toyota Motor Corp is at the pinnacle of the global auto industry, having overtaken Ford Motor Co and General Motors Corp in vehicle sales.

The Japanese automaker now has 40 vehicle assembly plants around the world and 12 research, development and design centers. It employs 310,000 people.

Here is a chronology of key events and milestones in Toyota’s history:

1933 - Automobile department established within textile loom maker Toyoda Automatic Loom Works -- now Toyota Industries Corp -- founded by inventor Sakichi Toyoda

1935 - First vehicle, the Model G1 truck, built. First Toyota dealership established

1936 - Production starts of its first car, the Model AA

1957 - Crown becomes first passenger car made in Japan to be exported to the United States

1962 - First overseas vehicle plant, in Brazil

1964 - First Asian vehicle plant outside Japan, in Thailand

1972 - Cumulative production in Japan reaches 10 million vehicles

1984 - Toyota’s first U.S. car assembly plant, a joint venture with General Motors Corp, opens in California

1989 - Toyota launches luxury Lexus brand in North America

1992 - First European car plant begins production in Britain

1997 - Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid car, launched

1998 - Toyota takes majority stake in minivehicle maker Daihatsu Motor Co

1999 - 100 millionth Toyota vehicle produced in Japan

2001 - Toyota takes majority stake in truck maker Hino Motors Ltd

2003 - Toyota makes 6.78 million vehicles and overtakes Ford Motor Co in annual sales to become world No.2 behind General Motors

2005 - Toyota takes minority stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru cars, for cooperation in vehicle technology development and use of its U.S. factory

2006 - Toyota takes minority stake in truck maker Isuzu Motors Ltd to beef up diesel engine technology

2006 - Toyota’s group global sales of 8.808 million vehicles exceeds GM’s by 128,000, making it the world’s biggest automaker, authoritative industry magazine Automotive News says. (This figure excludes cars made by a Chinese joint venture in which GM holds a minority stake)

(Source: Toyota Motor Corp, Reuters)

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; editing by Megan Goldin

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