Year of Toyota GAIA
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Toyota Motor Corporation (トヨタ自動車株式会社, Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki-gaisha?) is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan and is the world's largest automaker. As of 2008, Toyota employs approximately 316,000 people around the world.
In 1934, while still a department of Toyota Industries, it created its first product Type A engine and in 1936 its first passenger car the Toyota AA. The company was eventually founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries to create automobiles. Toyota currently owns and operates Lexus and Scion brands and has a majority shareholding stake in Daihatsu Motors, and minority shareholdings in Fuji Heavy Industries Isuzu Motors, and Yamaha Motors. The company includes 522 subsidiaries.
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Toyota is headquartered in Toyota City and Nagoya (both in Aichi), and in Tokyo. In addition to manufacturing automobiles, Toyota provides financial services through its division Toyota Financial Services and also creates robots. Toyota Industries and Finance divisions form the bulk of the Toyota Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the world.
In January 2009 it announced the closure of all of its Japanese plants for 11 days to reduce output and stocks of unsold vehicles.
Early in 2009, although company spokespersons declined confirmation, media sources reported that Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, will be promoted in June from vice-president to the position of President, replacing Katsuaki Watanabe.
Vehicles were originally sold under the name "Toyoda" (トヨダ), from the family name of the company's founder, Kiichiro Toyoda. In September 1936, the company ran a public competition to design a new logo. Out of 27,000 entries the winning entry was the three Japanese katakana letters for "Toyoda" in a circle. But Risaburo Toyoda, who had married into the family and was not born with that name, preferred "Toyota" (トヨタ) because it took eight brush strokes (a fortuitous number) to write in Japanese, was visually simpler (leaving off two ticks at the end) and with a voiceless consonant instead of a voiced one (voiced consonant is considered "murky" or "muddy" sound compared to the voiceless consonant, which is "clear"). Since "Toyoda" literally means "fertile rice paddies", changing the name also helped to distance the company from associations with old fashioned farming. The newly formed word was trademarked and the company was registered in August 1937 as the "Toyota Motor Company".
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