Section 1. Construction of Motomachi Plant and Introduction of TQC
Item 3. Production and Sale of the Mass-market Publica and Crown RS40
Assembly lines for the Publica mass-market vehicle were completed at the Motomachi Plant's Crown and Corona assembly plant (which would later become the No. 1 Assembly Plant) in March 1961. The line began operation in April that year, assembling the Publica UP10 model. The Publica went on sale in June, priced at 389,000 yen.
The process leading to the development of the Publica was previously outlined in Part 1, Chapter 2 "Creating Family Vehicles". The Publica UP10 was born following a six-year development period spanning three prototypes (the 1A, 11A, and 68A).
Less than one year after its release, the Publica was selling more than 2,000 units per month. The No. 2 Assembly Plant, built exclusively for Publica production, was fully completed at the Motomachi Plant in May 1962, including ancillary facilities, establishing a platform for full-scale mass production. Monthly sales topped 3,000 in December 1963, and looked set to reach 4,000 units. However, the Publica never ended up selling well enough to require a dedicated mass-volume plant. To trigger the full-scale motorization of society, a new type of mass-market car was necessary-one that was not only low-cost, but that also offered a dream.
In September 1962, the year after production of the Publica UP10 model began, Toyota released the second-generation Toyopet Crown RS40. The first model built at the Motomachi Plant, construction of which was completed in 1959, was the Toyopet Crown RS20 passenger car (including the RS21 deluxe model and the CS20 diesel-engine model). Although the Toyopet Crown 1900 RS30 (including the RS31 deluxe model and the RS32L custom model) featuring the 3R engine and others were subsequently added, they basically represented gradual, section-by-section improvements of the Crown RS.
The new-model Crown RS40 was a full revamp of the RS model after seven years and nine months on sale. Marketed as a luxury compact car, with its revised body design, improved comfort and handling response, and reduced vibration and noise, the new-model Crown truly embodied its catchphrase of "bolder, bigger, better, and more beautiful".
Although sales of the new-model Crown grew steadily, the market wanted an even larger car. To meet this need, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. set about developing the Crown Eight (VG10), its first large vehicle since after World War II. The Crown Eight was a full-scale large vehicle, sized between the regular Crown model and large American vehicles, and featuring an aluminum alloy V8 engine (2,599 cc, 115 hp). The body incorporated body panels from the Crown RS40 model enlarged, and production was handled by Kanto Auto Works, Ltd.