Part 3: The History of Toyota; About the Toyota SupraThe History of Toyota
The Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese automobile maker, currently the world's largest auto manufacturer by production, and the ninth largest company in the world by revenue. The company was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries, a machine manufacturer, to create automobiles. The name "Toyota" differs from the "Toyoda" family name because in Japanese the new name sounded better and its eight-stroke count was associated with wealth and good fortune. In 1989 the current logo for Toyota was put in use, as up to that point there were inconsistencies with regards to marketing.
From September 1947, Toyota's small-sized vehicles were sold under the name "Toyopet", especially light trucks. However, when Toyota eventually entered the American market in 1957 with the Toyopet Crown, the name was not well received due to connotations of toys and pets. The name was soon dropped for the American market but continued in other markets until the mid 1960s. By the early sixties, the US had begun placing stiff import tariffs on certain vehicles, including imported light trucks. In response to the tariff, Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. began building plants in the US by the early eighties to avoid paying the import tax. Not all worked out well for Toyota though, as in 2001 a merger between Toyota and two other Japanese banks was accused of corruption by the Japanese government, lost a whole lot of money, and was forced to merge with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi as a result of Japan's banking crisis.
By the end of the 1980s, Toyota had begun to establish new brands, including the Lexus in 1989. The best-selling hybrid Prius was produced in 1999 and sold worldwide in 2001. This trend for more economic cars still holds for Toyota's success, as the Corolla remains a top-seller and very popular so long as gasoline prices remain high. Of course, Toyota's reputation would be doing much better in the eyes of the public if it didn't keep having to do mass recalls, like the one that took place between 2009 and 2011, where the accelerator pedal could become stuck under the floor mat.
About the Toyota Supra
The Supra is a sports car that, like many other sports cars, was derived from a predecessor's body. The Supra's "mother" was the Celica, but it was longer and wider. Despite developing its own model in 1986, the Supra and Celica still get mixed up namewise. Despite its iconic look and prominent feature in numerous video games, movies, and TV shows, Toyota ceased US sales of the Supra in 1998 and stop producing them in Japan in 2002. Its emissions simply could not match the standards set up by the Japanese government.
The Supra had four "Marks", and the Mark IV is the car featured in Most Wanted. The model sold in the US and Europe had an upgraded turbo engine that could reach 320 hp at 5600 rpm, and achieve 0-60 mph in as low as 4.9 seconds. The stock turbo version could reach over 177 mph! But it's not all about the speed: the Supra's racing popularity can also be attributed to its chassis and weight. Its brakes are no mean thing, either: it held the best braking performance record (70-0 mph) at a distance of 149 ft for seven years until it was dethroned by the Porsche Carrera GT, which did it in 145 ft. No wonder the Supra was so popular for racing!
Despite the Supra's halted production, a new Mark V Supra could possibly be released in 2014 or 2015, depending on how the GT86/FR-S sells.
Triple A Says...
You see them in pretty much every form of racing there is. You see them in drifting, drag racing and in time attack. The 2JZ engine alone is known for handling quite a lot of power with the stock internals and if that is not enough, you have tremendous aftermarket support for even crazier builds. The chassis is well-designed and versatile. It even comes with an active spoiler that deploys at 90 KPH.
Pity that the ones you can buy tend to be either riced to shit, absurdly overpriced and/or most likely treated very badly by the previous owner. Seriously, the cheapest Mark IV (the Supra model that appears in Most Wanted) goes at about 6400 around here and it looks pretty neglected.