Toyota Motor, among the world's largest automotive manufacturers by auto sales (running a tight race with GM), designs and manufactures a diverse product line-up that ranges from subcompacts to luxury and sports vehicles to SUVs, trucks, minivans, and buses. Its vehicles are produced either with combustion or hybrid engines, as with the Prius. Toyota's subsidiaries also manufacture vehicles: Daihatsu Motor produces mini-vehicles, while Hino Motors produces trucks and buses. Additionally, Toyota makes automotive parts for its own use and for sale to others. Popular models include the Camry, Corolla, Land Cruiser, and luxury Lexus line, as well as the Tundra truck.
Major Toyota subsidiaries include Toyota Auto Body Co. Ltd., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Toyota Motor North America, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Toyota Financial Services Corporation, and Toyota Motor Credit Corporation.
Toyota divides its operations into the three segments of automotive (91% of total sales), financial services (6%) and other (3%). Automotive is obviously Toyota's bread and butter; the segment makes passenger and commercial vehicles, minivans, trucks and related parts. Its less known financial services segment provides financing to dealers and their customers for the lease or purchase of Toyota vehicles.
Toyota maintains a vast geographical reach, selling to 170 countries and regions through more than 500 consolidated subsidiaries and some 210 affiliated companies. Almost 60% of its sales come from Asia (Japan counts for 48%), while North America generates around 20% of total sales. Countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Oceania, and Latin America account for the remainder.
Toyota has been focused on regaining its financial footing after suffering through several economic disasters. From 2010 to 2011 its overall net revenue decreased by 2%, due to the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, flood in Thailand, and a shortage of parts supplies stemming from those disasters. Its geographical segments were also stung by volatile exchange rates. However, despite these challenges the total number of overall vehicles sold in 2012 for Toyota was roughly 7.3 million vehicles, up 0.6% compared to 2011.
Like its competitors, Toyota is beefing up its Chinese operations by joining forces with local automotive players. With its partner China FAW Group Corporation, Toyota builds nine models, including Land Cruisers and Corollas, in the country. The third factory operated by the JV began producing Corollas in May 2012.
Along with China, India is generating a lot of interest in the automotive industry. Toyota in late 2010 opened a manufacturing plant near Bangalore through its Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) joint venture with partner Kirloskar Group. The move established Toyota's presence in India's heartland by launching its compact Etios to the Indian market.
While Toyota shared the pain of its global competitors during the Great Recession, it was spared the government-supervised bankruptcy reorganizations that Chrysler and GM endured. During the hard times, Toyota focused on consolidating its North American operations, shifting its resources, and closing underperforming operations. In early 2010 it sold off Toyota Financial Services Securities Corp. (the brokerage unit of its financial arm, Toyota Financial Services Corp.) to Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings.
Toyota was met with massive recalls beginning in 2010 in regard to defective gas pedals, faulty floor mats, and problems with braking software. It recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide and halted production of the subject models, including the top-selling Camry, at US and Canadian plants. The recalls were the largest for Toyota in the US, and the suspension of sales and production resulting from vehicle defects topped the industry's charts. – less