In 1924, Sakichi Toyoda invented the Toyoda Model G Automatic Loom. The principle of jidoka, which means the machine stops itself when a problem occurs, became later a part of the Toyota Production System. Looms were built on a small production line. In 1929, the patent for the automatic loom was sold to the British company Platt Brothers, generating the starting capital for automobile development.
The production of Toyota automobiles was started in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder's son, Kiichiro Toyoda. Its first vehicles were the A1 passenger car and the G1 truck in 1935. The Toyota Motor Company was established as an independent company in 1937. Vehicles were originally sold under the name "Toyoda" (トヨダ), from the family name of the company's founder, Kiichirō Toyoda. In April 1936, Toyoda's first passenger car, the Model AA, was completed. The sales price was 3,350 yen, 400 yen cheaper than Ford or GM cars.
In September 1936, the company ran a public competition to design a new logo. Of 27,000 entries, the winning entry was the three Japanese katakana letters for "Toyoda" in a circle. However, Rizaburo Toyoda, who had married into the family and was not born with that name, preferred "Toyota" (トヨタ) because it took eight brush strokes (a lucky number) to write in Japanese, was visually simpler (leaving off the diacritic at the end), and with a voiceless consonant instead of a voiced one (voiced consonants are considered to have a "murky" or "muddy" sound compared to voiceless consonants, which are "clear").
Since toyoda literally means "fertile rice paddies", changing the name also prevented the company from being associated with old-fashioned farming. The newly formed word was trademarked and the company was registered in August 1937 as the Toyota Motor Company.
The Japanese government supported the company by preventing foreign competitors Ford and General Motors from importing automobiles into Japan.