The Japanese have a bit of a weakness for mad badges. Hence, the current Toyota symbol that looks like a cowboy in a big hat, but is actually three elipses depicting the heart of the customer, the heart of the product, and the ever-expanding technological advancements and boundless opportunities that lie ahead. It says here.
In Japanese, 'Toyo' means an abundance of, and 'ta' is rice. I'm told that some Asian cultures believe that those blessed with an abundance of rice are blessed with great wealth.
When the company was founded in 1937, the name 'Toyota' was used rather than the family name, 'Toyoda'. There were three reasons for this:
- Signify the separation of the founders' work life from home life
- Simplify the pronunciation
- Give the company an auspicious beginning; eight is a lucky number and it takes eight strokes to write Toyota in Katakana, whereas it takes ten to write Toyoda