Adoption of the Toyota logo and development of the sales network

Proposals for a logo to be used on Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Automotive Department-developed vehicles were solicited from employees of Toyoda companies in February 1934, prior to the start of prototype vehicle production. In April, 21 proposals from the more than 800 submitted were selected, but a final decision was not made.

The third issue of the Toyoda News, the newsletter of the Automotive Department, dated July 5, 1936, included a notice of the rules for submissions to the Toyoda logo contest. The first prize was 100 yen, the deadline for submissions was August 15, and notice of the contest was placed in leading newspapers. The October 10 eighth issue of the Toyota News announced the winning Toyota logo, selected from more than 27,000 submissions and announced that the product name would be changed from Toyoda to Toyota on the advice of industry leaders. The article used the new "Toyota" name exclusively, referring to a Toyota Gifu announcement, the Second Toyota Dealer Conference, and the Toyota nighttime patrol service.

During this period, the Toyota sales network was steadily expanding including the relinquishment of Ford sales rights by the automobile division of Gobankan (a dealer that was the predecessor to Sapporo Toyota Co., Ltd.) in the autumn of 1936 and its transformation to a Toyota dealer in June 1937. When Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. was established in August of that year, the sales network comprised 20 dealers: 18 domestic dealers and one dealer each in Korea and Taiwan. In Japan, Kochi Prefecture-based Shikoku Toyota Sales established a Tokushima branch and a Matsuyama branch, and Kanto Toyota Sales in Tochigi Prefecture established an Ibaraki branch and a Saitama branch, and as a result, Toyota had sales bases in 22 prefectures, covering nearly half the country.

Many of the dealers sold both American cars and Toyota vehicles. GM dealers such as Shikoku Motors in Kochi Prefecture established Shikoku Toyota Sales, Nangoku Motors in Kagoshima Prefecture established Nanho Motors, Niigata Shokai in Niigata Prefecture established Niigata Toyota Motor Shokai, Kanto Motors in Tochigi Prefecture established Kanto Toyota Sales, and Kaneki Shoten in Hyogo Prefecture established Kobe Toyota Sales. Similarly, Yonawa Shokai, a Ford dealer in Kumamoto Prefecture, established Kumamoto Toyota Motor Sales.

In this way, the number of Toyota dealers in Japan increased from seven at the end of 1936 to 19 at the end of 1937, and 22 (in 26 prefectures) in July 1938, just one year after the establishment of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd., bringing the total to 24 including the dealers in Korea and Taiwan. The number of dealers continued to increase, reaching 30 at the end of 1938 and 37 at the end of 1939 with sales outlets located in 44 prefectures (including seven sales branches; there were no sales outlets in Oita, Miyazaki, or Okinawa), covering nearly the entire country. Overseas, five companies were established by 1941: Sakhalin Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd., Korea Motor Sales Co., Ltd., Seoul Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd., West Korea Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd., and Taiwan Kokusan Motor Co., Ltd.

In April 1939, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. implemented its first capital increase, raising capital from 12 million yen to 30 million yen, and allocated 5,000 shares to 25 dealers. This dominant stance of dealers holding shares of the manufacturer was maintained until the reorganization of automobile sales structures in 1942.

Table 1-3 summarizes the dealers who appeared in advertisements placed in Ryusenkei, a Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. PR newsletter for customers (December 1, 1940-October 1, 1941). The company names were not entirely uniform and some companies retained the names from when they sold foreign cars, but the information shows the state of automobile sales at the time. The number of shares indicated in the table refers to the investments made at the time of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.'s capital increase mentioned above.

Table 1-3. Dealers that appeared in Ryusenkei newsletter (December 1940-October 1941)

No. of shares
Sakhalin Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
Odori-kita 2-chome, Toyohara City
Automobile department of Gobankan
Kitagojyo-higashi 2-chome, Sapporo City
Ohu Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
Hamamachi 5-chome, Aomori City
Akita Toyota Motor Sales Shokai
22-1, Tanakamachi, Akita City
Automobile department of Yoshiiya
2002, Miyamachi, Yamagata City
Morioka Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
Odori 2-chome, Morioka City
Miyagi Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
1, Higashigobanmachi, Sendai City
Fukushima Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
2, Nishimachi, Fukushima City
Kanto Motors Tochigi Shokai
2675, Nishihara-cho, Utsunomiya City
Kanto Motors Ibaraki Shokai
30, Meisei-cho, Mito City
Kanto Motors Gunma Shokai
81, Tanakamachi, Maebashi City
Kanto Motors Saitama Shokai
Shinkokudo-dori, Omiya City, Saitama Prefecture
Chiba Toyota Sales Co., Ltd.
1-117, Suehiro-cho, Chiba City
Tokyo Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
5-9, Tamura-cho, Shiba-ku, Tokyo City
Kanagawa Toyota Sales Co., Ltd.
3-37-2, Takashima-dori, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama City
Niigata Shokai
2439, Nagaresakuba, Niigata City
Toyama Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
8, Kimachi, Toyama City
Kanazawa Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
3, Furumichi, Kanazawa City
Fukui Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
13, Keyamachi, Fukui City
Nagano Toyota Motor Sales Shokai
228, Minamiishido-cho, Nagano City
Yamanashi Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
Sakaoriekimae, Kofu City
Shizuoka Toyota Sales Co., Ltd.
567, Naganuma, Shizuoka City
Nagoya Toyota Sales Co., Ltd.
9-15, Tokotori, Showa-ku, Nagoya City
Gifu Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
10, Kanazono-cho, Gifu City
Mie Toyota Sales Co., Ltd.
647, Hinomachi, Matsusaka City
Nara Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
30, Surugamachi, Nara City
Kyoto Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
Matsubara-kudaru, Higashioji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
Osaka Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
1-4, Shimofukushima, Konohana-ku, Osaka City
Kaneki Shoten
2-5, Kitamachi, Hayashida-ku, Kobe City
Okayama Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
134, Daiku, Okayama City
Hiroshima Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
2, Sendamachi, Hiroshima City
Sanin Motor Shokai
489, Asahimachi, Matsue City
Yamaguchi Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd
Shimogo, Ogoori-cho, Yoshiki-gun, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Kagawa Toyota Motor Shokai
2-15, Kotobuki-cho, Takamatsu City
Kochi Toyota Motor Goshi
Ekimae-dori, Kochi City
Matsuyama Toyota Sales Co., Ltd.
4, Nishiboribata-cho, Matsuyama City
(Shikoku Toyota Sales)
Daifuku Motor Shokai
5, Watanabe-dori, Fukuoka City
Hizen Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
99, Tokiwa-cho, Sasebo City
Yonawa Shokai
793, Kasuga-machi, Kumamoto City
(Kumamoto Toyota Motor Sales)
Nangoku Motors
114, Nishisengoku-cho, Kagoshima City
Korea Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
1-41, Sakaemachi, Busan City
Seoul Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
2-73, Eiraku-cho, Seoul City
West Korea Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
209, Shinri, Pyongyang City
Taiwan Kokusan Motor Co., Ltd.
233, Zhonglun, Taipei City
"Number of shares" refers to the number of shares acquired when Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. increased its capital in April 1939. Dealers from the following eight prefectures did not appear in Ryusenkei:
Siga Prefecture: Kyoto Toyota Motor Sales, Co., Ltd. Otsu branch (Hama-dori, Otsu City)
Wakayama Prefecture: Wakayama Toyota Motor Sales, Co., Ltd. (Kita-shinmachi, Wakayama City)
Tottori Prefecture: Sanin Motors Shokai (Higashihonji-cho, Tottori City)
Tokushima Prefecture: None established
Saga Prefecture: Hizen Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. Saga branch (Otakara-machi, Saga City)
Oita, Miyazaki and Okinawa prefectures: None established

When the Second World War spread to the Pacific in December 1941, the automobile sales industry was incorporated into the wartime controlled economy. Restrictions on the supply of motor vehicles and parts had been imposed in August 1940, but the Automobile Control Association was established on December 24, 1941 and a reorganization of automobile sales organizations was implemented. The Japan Automobile Distribution Company was established in July 1942, and prefectural automobile distribution companies were established as subsidiary organizations in November. The dealers that made up the Toyota sales network were incorporated into the local distribution companies and were successively dissolved.

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