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The History of Toyota in Canada

The History of Toyota in Canada

Toyota celebrates 60 years in Canada this year, and we’re excited to celebrate 6 decades of Canadian automotive history.


From Toyota’s arrival in Canada in the ’60s as an automobile importer to our move into domestic car manufacturing in the ’80s, Toyota proves time again that we are the most valuable and reliable car brand on the world stage today. 


Read along with us as we dip deeper into the history of Toyota in Canada.


A couple drives a vehicle, showing the interior view of the car.


The History of Toyota Canada


Let's explore the timeline of Toyota Canada and its best-selling vehicles.


  • 1960s: The Beginning
  • 1970s: Booming Imports
  • 1980s: Manufacturing Moves
  • 1990s: Expansion
  • 200’s: Manufacturing Milestones
  • 2010s: Decade of the RAV4
  • 2020s: The Land Cruiser Returns


A Toyota Highlander Hybrid vehicle driving on a road in different seasons.


Follow the History of Toyota

1960s: The Beginning


An infographic with text and a road on a read background.


1964 - Toyota Japan signs an agreement with Canadian Motor Industries Ltd. (CMI) to import vehicles into Canada. The Toyota Crowns (Crown Eight) and Publicas are introduced to Canadians.


In the following year (1965), we sold 755 new Toyota vehicles to Canadians, including the Crowns and Land Cruisers.


The Toyota Crown is one of the long-standing icons of the Toyota brand. The following generations of this luxury car, after the first four, were sold in North America as the Corona Mark II, replacing the Crown.


See the latest generation of Toyota Crown here.


A vintage print ad for the Toyota Crown vehicle.

A vintage Toyota Japan print catalogue for the Toyota Crown.


1967 - Toyota introduces the Corona as one of the first global export models. Nicknamed the Tiara, it follows the crown naming convention.


A vintage print ad for the Toyota Corona vehicle.

A vintage Toyota Japan print catalogue for the Toyota Corona.


1968 - We introduce the Toyota Corolla. The Latin word "corolla" names the "Corolla" (car model).


The Corolla is one of the best-selling vehicles in the world, with twelve generations from 1966 to the present. More than 28,260 Corollas were sold in Canada through 2023 alone.


A vintage print ad for the Toyota Corolla vehicle.

A vintage Toyota Japan print catalogue for the Toyota Corolla.


1970s: Booming Imports


An infographic with a road and text on a red background.


1970: We introduce the Toyota Hilux. In 1968, the first generation of Hilux series pickup trucks began production. The abbreviated name “Hilux” is a combination of the words “high” and “luxury”.


A vintage print ad for the Toyota Hilux truck.

A vintage Toyota Japan print catalogue for the Toyota Hilux.


The Toyota Corolla reached its first million sales in 1970 and increased in popularity.


1971: Toyota becomes the largest importer by total sales in Canada. We also introduced the Toyota Celica to Canadian markets this year! The name "Celica" comes from the Latin "coelica," meaning celestial or heavenly.


A vintage print ad for the Toyota Celica vehicle.

A vintage Toyota Japan print catalogue for the Toyota Celica.


1973: North American consumers wanted smaller, more fuel-efficient cars during the oil crisis of 1973 due to gas shortages. Toyota’s sales increased amid shortages and fears, as the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) institutes an oil embargo on the US.


1974: The Toyota Corolla becomes the best-selling car worldwide.


1976: The Toyota Land Cruiser continues to gain popularity. This series of four-wheel drive vehicles is Toyota’s longest-running series of models! In 1951, the Land Cruiser began production, and it was introduced to Canada in the 1960s.


A vintage print ad for the Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle.

A vintage Toyota Japan print catalogue for the Toyota Land Cruiser.


1980s: Manufacturing Moves


An infographic with a road and text on a red background.


1980 - Canadian Motor Industries Ltd. (CMI) changed its name to Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) This remains its name today.


1986 - Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC) establishes its first manufacturing plant in Ontario, Canada, and breaks ground on the facility known as TMMC South Plant. In the year that it opened, TMMC built 153 vehicles, with its first vehicle ever built being a Toyota Corolla. 


1988 - We introduce and manufacture the 5th Generation Toyota Corolla in Cambridge, Ontario at the TMMC South Plant. The sedan's layout switches from front-engine, rear-wheel drive (FR) to front-engine, front-wheel drive. The 4- and 5-door versions come as options, and the 5-door version was later named a liftback.


1989 -  The last Toyota Land Cruisers were sold and then discontinued in the Canadian market, signalling the end of Land Cruisers' in Canada (at least, for now).


1990’s: Expansion


An infographic featuring a road and text on a red background.


1990 - Lexus establishes a Canadian channel and begins sales. In Canada, Lexus debuts with the LS 400.


1997 - TMMC (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc.) increases the capacity of its manufacturing plant and starts production at the North Plant. Furthermore, the award-winning Corolla is produced here for the next 20 years!


Toyota Canada Inc.'s annual sales in Canada topped 100,000 units this year.


1999 - Toyota Canada Inc. cumulative sales in Canada top 150,000 units. This is a long way from only 577 cars sold in 1964!


2000s: Manufacturing Milestones


An infographic featuring a road and text on a red background.


2003 - TMMC establishes the first overseas production of Lexus-brand vehicles outside Japan.


2005 - Toyota announces plans for a third factory based in Woodstock, Ontario. It's now known as the TMMC West Plant.


2007 - TCI annual sales in Canada top 200,000 units.


2008 - The Toyota RAV4 production begins at the TMMC West factory and continues today. TMMC’s North and West plants now produce approximately 350,000 RAV4 vehicles annually, impressively over 1,400 RAV4 vehicles per day!


2010s: Decade of the RAV4


An infographic featuring a road and text on a red background.


2010 - Sales begin for the Scion brand in Canada, as the brand is introduced in the Canadian market. (Scion is a marque of Toyota that debuted in 2003, and became defunct in 2003.)


2011 - TCI reaches cumulative sales of four million units.


2014 - As Toyota celebrates its 50th anniversary, we also mark another milestone: the sale of our 100,000th hybrid vehicle. Toyota sells 75% of the hybrid vehicles in Canada!


2015 - TCI has the best year for sales yet, with 116,156 units sold this year.


2017 - The popular Toyota Corolla and RAV4 models, made domestically, make TMMC the number one automaker in Canada. 571,535 units were built in 2017.


2019 - Toyota’s made-in-Canada RAV4 becomes the country’s #1 selling vehicle. Compact crossover SUVs were pioneered by the RAV4, as it is a well-known compact crossover SUV.


The vehicle’s name is an abbreviation of “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-Wheel Drive”.


A Toyota RAV4 vehicle driving down a dirt road in a forest.

The 2024 Toyota RAV4.


Discover the Toyota RAV4 here, and book a test drive with us at West Edmonton Mall Toyota to see why this vehicle is a number #1 seller. 


2020’s: The Land Cruiser Returns


An infographic featuring a road and text on a red background.


2021 - The Toyota Corolla hits the historic milestone of 50 million units sold worldwide. Over 1.6 million units sold in Canada.


See the latest generation of Corollas here.


2022 - TMMC celebrates its 10-millionth vehicle manufactured in their facilities, a red Lexus NX 350h hybrid electric luxury SUV.


TCI has sold more than 6 million vehicles in Canada, and is Canada’s number one seller of electric vehicles! Toyota paves the way forward with its hybrid and electric vehicle sales.


2024 - Toyota celebrates 60 years in Canada, a full 6 decades of providing top-quality vehicles to Canadians.


And in a thrilling twist, the Toyota Land Cruiser returns to Canada after 30 years!


The 2024 Land Cruiser drives on a dusty road, off-roading in the desert.

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser.


The iconic offroading vehicle is set to return with the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, after being gone from Canadian markets for more than 30 years.


Want updates on the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser? Register here.


The Future of Toyota 

Toyota has a rich history in Canada, and certainly an equally bright future.  Join us as we pave the way forward with new models, ingenuity and production!


Here’s to another 60 years in Canada!


Are you shopping for a new vehicle in Alberta? Visit our team at West Edmonton Mall Toyota (Entrance 24)! We have the most convenient dealership hours in Edmonton, in addition to being open late every day of the week.


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