A brief history of Toyo Tires
Toyo Tires has stood for innovation, quality, performance, and excellent service for 65 years, including nearly 45 years in the United States. Combined, the Toyo group of companies has development, manufacturing, testing, distribution, and marketing operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania.
As a result, Toyo Tires has built a solid reputation around the world. And who knows tires better than the very people who sell them everyday? In the United States, Toyo Tires has been named #1 Overall Brand again and again and again by North American tire dealers in Tire Review magazine’s Annual Tire Brand Study*.
In fact, our consumer tires have been voted #1 Overall Brand by North American tire dealers an unprecedented seven times since 2000. Since 2002, our medium truck tires have received the honor six times.
The vision to manufacture great tires began in August 1945, when the founding president, Mr. Rikimatsu Tomihisa, established the Toyo Tire & Rubber Co, Ltd. in Japan.
In 1966, Toyo Tires became the first Japanese tire manufacturer to establish a subsidiary in the United States. From a small office in Southern California, Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corporation (as it was then known) began warehousing and distributing commercial truck tires. Passenger replacement tires were added to the company’s product offerings in 1975, and through a network of independent tire dealers, the Toyo Tires brand began to grow in the United States.
The first tires manufactured in the United States to bear the Toyo Tires brand occurred in the late 1980s when the company began producing commercial tires in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. In addition to supporting the U.S. economy, U.S.-based production allowed for quicker access to inventories with reduced shipping time and costs.
Today, the company’s U.S. headquarters are in Cypress, California, and distribution is supported by nearly one million square feet of warehousing in Southern California with additional warehouses in Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
In the 1980s, Toyo Tires began competing in U.S. road racing. By the end of the decade, drivers using Toyo products had captured numerous championship titles, and the motorsports legacy of Toyo Tires was born.
With championships in nearly every form, from road racing to off-road racing to drifting, Toyo Tires has become a household name amongst amateur and professional racers. More than that, however, these motorsports activities have provided invaluable knowledge, exposure, and enthusiasm, which consistently pushes Toyo Tires to develop the best products imaginable and results in new technology and innovations.
To meet the demands of consumers—and set a few trends in the process—Toyo Tires has also become a leader in fitments and dynamic tire applications. From the late 1990s and into the 21st century, the company has been responsible for several significant product developments in these areas.
As the sport compact tuner market exploded, Toyo Tires responded with low profile, large rim diameter high performance tires. In quick fashion, passenger car tire sizes reached 18-inches, something practically unheard of just a few years earlier. Since the late 1990s, rim sizes have continued to grow. Toyo Tires set the pace once again in 2008, releasing the first-ever 26- and 28-inch passenger car tires. Less than a year later they followed it up with a 30-inch passenger car tire.
In another area, with trends moving toward customizing light trucks and SUVs with larger wheel and tire packages in the late 1990s, Toyo Tires introduced the Proxes S/T, the first properly load-rated sport truck tire. This specialty product resulted in tremendous sales and established the company as a leader in the sport truck tire market. Still offered today, the Proxes S/T is complemented by a new generation, the Proxes ST II.
Off-Road and Luxury
Off-road enthusiasts embraced the Open Country M/T when it was introduced in 2003. With it they found a tire that had exceptional off-road handling, durability, and tread life as well as an aggressive look and a smoother, quieter ride on the highway. The Open Country M/T has proven to be more than just a great tire for customized trucks; it is a champion in the world of off-road racing, both short course and desert.
In April 2007, the company introduced its first luxury-touring tire, the Versado LX. Developed with the same quality and performance that built the Toyo Tires reputation, the Versado LX—and the national television campaign that accompanied it—exposed the Toyo Tires brand to a whole new customer. As its tagline states, the Versado LX is “Performance refined, luxury redefined.”
A Commitment to North America
We believe the demand for product diversity will continue to grow, and to meet that demand, Toyo Tires has created a strong production and distribution chain.
From the beginning, Toyo Tires has been committed to the North American market. In 2004, the company’s actions reinforced that commitment. At a time when other manufacturers were looking for options outside of the United States, Toyo Tires opened a one million square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing and warehousing facility in White, Georgia, just 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. Capable of producing approximately two million tires annually, this facility is home to the company’s latest technology: A.T.O.M., a highly automated and proprietary tire production system.
In 2008, the company broke ground on an expansion project nearly doubling the size of the existing plant. As demand in North America grows, this structural addition will allow the company to add manufacturing equipment and increase production quickly and efficiently.
Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp., as it is now known, is led by Tatsuo Mitsuhata and includes relationships with more than 2,000 independent tire dealers selling Toyo Tires products across the United States.
Our tire portfolio covers a broad range of applications—from the high-performance, racing-inspired Proxes line to the Open Country line for light trucks and SUVs to the luxury-touring Versado LX to our broad range of commercial truck tires. No matter which car, light truck, SUV, or commercial vehicle you drive, Toyo Tires has the right tires for you.
As it was in the beginning, the commitment of Toyo Tires to innovation, quality, performance, and excellent customer service is unwavering and ongoing.
*Tire Review magazine’s Annual Brand Survey.