released on March 2003


Sakichi Toyoda,
Founder of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.

In the late 1950s, Toyota began adopting new sales methods. In the spirit of innovation, Japan’s Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. began to emphasize “scientific marketing” over older methods. The Research Office, set up in 1956, shifted focus to demand-forecasting techniques and prepared marketing plans accordingly. In 1957, they conducted their first full-scale market survey. In the same year, Toyota reduced the price of all its small passenger cars and also set up a list price system, making manufacturer’s suggested retail price and distribution costs public.

A new sales method, which Tokyo Toyopet Motor Sales had been using on an experimental basis, spread to other dealers throughout the country and became the decisive factor in bringing about volume sales. The company successfully adopted up-to-date sales methods, including a sales territory system and employing university graduates for its sales force.

Toyota also recognized the need for long-term investment in marketing. The company founded the Chubu Nippon Drivers’ School in 1957 to help prepare drivers since drivers’ licenses were difficult to obtain in Japan. The school served as a model for other driving schools. This innovative idea contributed not only to motorization in Japan but also to a major increase in Toyota sales. In 1958, Toyota opened the Toyota Sales College within the drivers’ school to teach the new Toyota sales method to salespeople from all over Japan.

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Toyota Torture Campaign, 1962

Innovation was also visible in advertising. Toyota actively sponsored events and began vigorous sales promotion activities, like setting up owner associations, such as Crown Clubs. With the 1962 Corona model change, Toyota made full and revolutionary use of television, the new mass medium. The Corona, initially perceived as weak, was advertised in dynamic television commercials, shown driving off a high ramp or continuing to run after falling off a cliff. As a result, the image of the Corona improved and sales steadily grew. Sakichi Toyoda once said, “Be an innovative and creative thinker.” Both in our past and in our future, innovative ideas help Toyota succeed.

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    Chubu Nippon Drivers’ School, Nagoya, Japan

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    Crown teaser campaign, 1962

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