The 50th anniversary of Toyota in the U.S.

released on May 2007

TMS was founded in California on October 31st, 1957

"I believe that people buy Toyota because they find high quality in every aspect of the company," former Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) Executive Vice President Robert B. McCurry once said. Since TMS was first established in 1957, its tireless pursuit of quality across all areas of business, including products, design, engineering, production, management and dealerships, has been the key to the company's successful brand-building in the United States.

The story of TMS began in October 1957, shortly after its first-ever import, the Toyopet Crown, hit U.S. shores. The Toyopet was popular in its homeland and performed well on Japan's narrow, winding streets, but it was unsuited to America's vast highways. As a result, the company began to encounter difficulties in its new market.

So TMS took a good look at the source of its business: people. What was driving their choice in cars? It saw that while Toyota had a good product in the Toyopet, Americans were looking for a nimbler and more powerful vehicle to help them go about their daily business. To be successful in America, Toyota would have to adapt to suit local needs.

In 1965, TMS introduced the Corona. Designed with the American driver in mind, it soon became Toyota's first major U.S. hit. Through the Corona and other popular models, such as the Land Cruiser and Corolla, Toyota gained a reputation for quality and reliability, which ultimately put the brand on the road to success.

When Toyota launched Lexus in 1989, it became the nation's top import luxury brand within a mere two years ― thanks to meticulous attention to customer satisfaction. In 2003, to tap into the youth market, TMS introduced Scion, a street-cool brand that has strengthened Toyota's image and introduced new, younger consumers to the Toyota family.


Friendly salespeople introduce potential customers to a Toyopet at one of TMS' first dealerships, circa 1958.

TMS is not only about great products, however. Toyota's strong relationship with its U.S. dealers, based on mutual respect and consideration, has truly paved the way for the company's growth over the years.

Now, with the new-generation Tundra pickup, Toyota has entered a new and extremely competitive business frontier in the U.S. — the full-size truck market. No easy task ― but then, over the last 50 years, it has always been challenges like these that have carried TMS forward to its position as one of America's leading automotive companies today.

  • Top executives during the 1982 grand opening of the TMS headquarters in Torrance, California

  • The first Lexus arrives in the U.S. at Port of Long Beach, California, in 1989. TMS top management, including former Executive Vice President Robert B. McCurry (second from right), stand proudly alongside the LS400.

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