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Toyota is one of the largest and most influential companies in the world. Their products are found in nearly every country on the globe and, in many of those countries, Toyota operates an office of some sort. This global relevance is belied by the modesty of the primary Toyota headquarters, which are in a relatively small and indecorous four-story office building in the mid-size city of Toyota.
By market capitalization, Toyota is one of the largest companies on the planet and the largest automobile manufacturer. The company has been a consist leader in driving research and development as well as a genius propagator of its own sales which has made it a leading company in numerous markets. Toyota’s network of offices around the world is constantly expanding along with the company’s markets and the needs of their ever-growing collection of customers and clients, especially those in the United States.
What Is Toyota?
Toyota is the largest company in Japan by market capitalization, a stature the company has achieved by manufacturing a wide variety of automobiles viable in widely disparate markets around the world. Toyota was the first automobile manufacturer to produce more than 10 million vehicles in a single year and the first company to produce 200 million total vehicles.
Outside of Toyota’s prominence in its native Japan, the company is also the sixth largest in the world making it essential to the health of the global economy based on its consistent production of vehicles used by individuals and commercial vehicles essential to the daily operations of other large, multinational companies. Toyota also offers financial services in Japan and has branched into the robotics industry in more recent years.
Toyota was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda from the ashes of his father’s company: Toyota Industries. In its original form, the company began producing engines in 1934 and manufactured its first automobile in 1936. In 1937, the company began expanding its operations and blossomed into the automobile manufacturer that is a household name today.
Toyota’s eponymous brand is by far the most famous and prevalent throughout the world. In fact, Toyota has factories and dealerships all over Asia, North America, and Europe, in addition to nascent operations in Africa and South America. Their products are equally popular amongst individual and corporate clients amongst both of which the companies reputation remains sterling.
Especially in North America and Europe, Lexus, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota, is a luxury brand that drives sales amongst automobile owners with a greater degree of disposable income. At present, only the well-known German luxury brands: BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have managed to outpace Lexus’s annual sales revenue as a luxury automotive brand.
Another well known facet of Toyota’s market, especially among wealthier consumers, is their Prius model which has been a leader in the promotion of hybrid vehicles of which Toyota was the first major manufacturer. In addition to hybrid models, Toyota is likely to be one the first, if not the first, company to manufacture and sell vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel-cells on an appreciable scale.
As we mentioned above, Toyota also works in the financial services industry and the robotics industry; however, these operations are limited in scope and cannot compare with the company’s relevance to the automotive industry.
The Global Relevance of Toyota
Toyota is essential to the functionality of the global economy on a day-to-day basis. The company’s instrumentality is predicated on its numerous employees, its sizable holding in other large companies, the research to which the company contributes, and functionality of the millions of vehicles it plays a part in delivering every year.
Toyota directly employs more than 350,000 professionals around the world including executive positions in Nagoya and Tokyo as well as manufacturing staff members in Pretoria, South Africa and Georgetown, Kentucky among many others.
This number reflects a small fraction of the total number of professionals who are indirectly employed by Toyota in the procurement of raw materials, supply chain management, and sales. Furthermore, based on the high cost of labor in Japan, many of the company’s employees are based far from the Toyota headquarters in a diverse collection of countries.
Toyota owns factories in most parts of the world where the company manufactures vehicles for sales in local or adjacent markets. Manufacturing centers are found in more than 25 countries worldwide, many of which have been opened fairly recently demonstrating the company’s expansive vision for growth in the coming years and decades.
These global locations which feed local sales demand have seen sales in North America eclipse those in Japan for the first time early in the 21st century. Toyota maintains high sales numbers in its home country in addition to growing but still modest sales elsewhere around the world, at least in comparison to their massive share in their most profitable markets.
Research and Development
Most consumers in the United States will recall when Prius first hit the market and become the first widely available hybrid vehicle. This accomplishment reflects Toyota’s commitment to research and development, a factor that played a major role in Toyota’s ascendence while major American automobile manufacturers waned in comparison. Research and development will only be more important going forward and Toyota is well positioned to solidify their status as the most successful automotive company in the world.
The aforementioned hydrogen fuel-cell is the most important area in which Toyota hopes to leverage its position as a harbinger of new vehicular technology. Consumer demand and government-mandated imperatives to address climate change will certainly lead to the widespread relevance of zero emissions vehicles and the hydrogen fuel-cell seems the obvious strategy whereby a manufacturer will achieve that goal in a manner that is accessible to sizeable demographics.
In addition to its own operations, Toyota’s working capital presently funds other automobile manufacturers such as Subaru, Isuzu, and Mazda, in all of which Toyota holds a sizable stake. Furthermore, Toyota has also embarked upon three different joint ventures with automobile manufacturers in China and India. This move reflects a clear desire to ensure Toyota remains relevant as other large Asian economies grow and threaten the company’s market share.
Main Toyota Headquarters
The Toyota headquarters is in a small, modest four-story building in the city of Toyota in Aichi Prefecture in the central portion of Japan. The modesty of the headquarters stands in stark contrast to the amount of wealth controlled by the company and the extensive network of offices dedicated to the company’s operations around the world.
The City of Toyota
The city of Toyota, formerly known as Koromo, is home to the Toyota headquarters and various manufacturing centers owned by the company. The company’s deep ties with the city and the economic impact it has made on the local community prompted to citizens to change the name of the city to reflect that of their benefactor. Toyota is in the Prefecture of Aichi, which is strategically situated between Nagoya and Tokyo, two of Japan’s most economically important cities, both of which are easily accessible from the Toyota headquarters.
The building in which the headquarters is housed could be easily confused for a small-scale Midwestern law firm with no more than 100 employees. The exterior of the building matches the spartan interior which features little beyond the essentials. Japan’s notoriously rigorous work culture coupled with the far from opulent headquarters used by Toyota have coupled to make the retention of foreign employees nearly impossible for Toyota.
While the headquarters in Toyota City is where manufacturing operations are deliberated, Japanese clients of the firm will typically conduct business or reach out to the company via the offices in either Nagoya or Tokyo as both are substantially more populous and well-trafficked by businesses than the company’s modest home.
Operations in the United States
For Toyota’s clients and customers in the United States, one of its largest markets, the headquarters in Toyota is rarely used to conduct business or field inquiries regarding their products. For this segment of the company’s market, the Toyota headquarters in the United States are much more relevant and accessible.
Toyota’s primary office in the United States is in Plano, Texas which lies on the northern end of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. This office serves as the primary point of contact for American clients whose needs cannot be met using Toyota’s myriad online services. Customers on the West Coast may be directed to the office in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles. Aside from these offices, Toyota has dealerships and other representatives all over the United States and Canada.