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It’s no surprise that Toyota is the most valuable auto company in the world. According to U.S. News, Toyota is valued at $211 billion — five times more than Tesla ($39 billion). At $80 billion, the next most profitable car company, Volkswagen, doesn’t even come close. Here’s how Toyota came to be so successful.

A brief history of Toyota cars

Toyota Motor Company began in 1937, and the company kept busy making trucks after World War II. By 1947, a model called the Toyopet was made. A sales division formed in 1950, and then in 1955, Toyota introduced its first luxury line, the Crown. By 1957, Toyota set up a sales division in Hollywood, California and imported two vehicles, the Land Cruiser and Toyopet.

The first “Americanized” Toyota, the Corona, came out in 1964. Seen as a competitor to the Volkswagen Beetle, the four-door sedan sold for $1,760 in 1967. Toyota introduced the Crown to America in 1967, too. Available as a wagon or sedan, the semi-luxury car featured a V6 engine with 115 hp as well as reclining bucket seats and a three-point harness, rarities in the U.S. at the time. Crown drivers could choose a four-speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission.

The Corolla, America’s favorite small car, arrived in 1969. Next came a series of small pickups, additional compact cars, luxury cars, SUVs, and hybrids.

Popular Toyota models

The Corolla arrived in North America in 1969, two years after it was first produced in Japan. Today, it is available as a sedan, a hatchback, or a hybrid. The Rav4 is reported to be the most popular, best selling Toyota car today. According to Car and Driver, the 2018 model outsold just about every other car in the U.S.

The Camry is classified as a family sedan. It’s available as a fuel-efficient four-cylinder or a powerful V6. Its hybrid model is reported to score better than the Prius in terms of comfort and safety. The Camry also costs $2,200 more than the Prius. The Land Cruiser is No. 1 on many lists. Toyota considers the Land Cruiser to be a worldwide legend.

The first Lexus, the LS400, appeared in 1989. It presented drivers with a new level of luxury and reliability at a reasonable price. Today’s Lexus prices start around $37,500 for the small NS SUV. Lexus is considered to be one of the best vehicles on the road.

Hybrid vehicles

In 1997, Toyota introduced its first hybrid vehicle, the Prius. Since then, several other models have been manufactured as hybrids. Next year will mark the first time the Corolla hybrid is available. It will share a powertrain with the Prius. Several Lexus models are also available in hybrid form.

Toyota giving back

In 2010, the Toyota corporation adopted a global vision linked to four key components: being kind to the Earth, supporting comfort of life, generating excitement for the world, and respecting all people. Numerous worthy causes display the Toyota logo including the Olympic and Paraplegic Games.