Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, like his predecessors, is a direct descendant of Sakichi Toyoda. The inventor of the automatic power loom, Toyoda founded the company from which Toyota Motor would develop in 1937.
With more than $260 billion in worldwide sales for Toyota’s last fiscal year, the company tops the combined tally of the next two largest Japanese automakers. Toyota also outpaces other huge companies, such as Apple and BP.
The company plans to spend more than $1 billion on developing self-driving car technology. The goal is to get driverless cars on the road around 2020, which is when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics.
This year, Toyota’s most-recognizable sedan turned 50. The company sold its first Corolla in Japan in 1966 before bringing the car to the U.S. two years later. The company has produced 11 generations of Corollas—the best-selling car in the world, with more than 40 million units sold.
With the Prius, Lexus hybrid and other Toyota hybrid car sales, Toyota had sold more than 9 million hybrid vehicles by May 2016. Because of cheap gas prices, Prius sales declined in 2015. Looking ahead, Toyota may face more challenges in this category, as Tesla, the electric car company, develops its more affordable Model 3.