A brief history of the company
It all started in 1933, when a subdivision of the Toyoda loom works was encouraged by the Japanese government to research and produce automobiles. The Japanese government was in need of domestic vehicle production, as other automotive companies were making equipment for the war with China.
Thus, in 1934, the division produced its first Type A engine, and it was used in the Model A1 passenger car in May 1935, before being put into the G1 truck three months later. The company did not become the independent Toyota Motor Company until 1937 – for five years it was simply a division of the loom works.
During World War Two, the company was dedicated to truck production, and they kept the design as simple as possible due to the shortage of materials available. Because the factories were destroyed by the Allied bombing, the company struggled and came close to bankruptcy in 1949, despite producing the Model SA passenger car for two years prior.
After struggling through the late forties and into the fifties, Toyota finally began to expand in the 1960s, with a new research and development facility built and an expanded presence in Thailand.
Establishing partnerships with other brands and winning awards for their quality (the product of the research and design facility) is what brought the company back to life, and they were even able to expand internationally.
In 1963, the first Toyota built outside of Japan was made in Melbourne; then from 1963 to 1965, Australia was the company’s biggest export market. By the end of the 60s, their worldwide presence had been established, and they had assembly lines set up in Europe, and cars being exported to America as well as the rest of the world.
Toyota has been in Australia since the end of the 50s, with the Land Cruiser being an integral part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. They expanded in Australia through the 60s and 70s, and by 1992 there had been one million Australian made Toyotas. The two million mark was reached in 2004.
Like many companies, Toyota struggled through the GFC of 2008 and has not entirely recovered. Just like many brands in the motoring industry, Toyota will cease Australian productions in 2017.
Some of the world’s fastest cars
The Toyota Hatchbacks
As well as regular petrol running hatchbacks, the Toyota range also includes some of their hybrid model, the Prius.
In total, Toyota make thirteen hatchback models; three Yaris, four Corolla, and six Prius. All have different features as far as interior design and technology are concerned, so we will look at safety – the most important feature of any car.
The safety features across all models include:
- Reverse camera
- Anti-skid braking
- Stability control
- Traction control
- Impact absorbent front (reducing injury to pedestrians)
- 6 or more airbags
- Whiplash injury lessening front seats
- High ANCAP safety ratings
There are also some clever safety features that are specific to the Prius. These include intelligent parking assist (it does the parking for you), pre-collision warning system, radar cruise control that maintains a preset distance from the car in front and changes speed accordingly, and an emergency brake signal to save a following driver from a potential collision.
As far as high-tech features go, the regular Toyota hatchbacks include a touch screen with voice command and navigation, but it is not quite as high tech as other models such as the Prius and competitors’ cars.
They are, however, more practical as there is less technology to distract you while you’re on the road in a regular Toyota hatchback.
Protecting your interests if you crash
How did they score?
In our survey of consumers, Toyota achieved consistent results with three stars all over the board. They scored four stars for reliability, reaffirming that Toyotas are cars that are built to last.
Other hatchbacks we rated
Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton to regularly survey Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who had recently bought a hatchback.
The other brands in this year’s survey are:
Other articles you might like
How to test drive a new car