About Checkered Flag Toyota - Virginia Beach Toyota
Checkered Flag Motor Car Corporation has been serving the greater Hampton Roads Region since 1964. We are a family owned and operated dealership group, whose size and volume allow us to offer the largest import pre-owned selection of any family-owned-community-minded dealership while keeping the safety of your wallet in mind. We strive to make your shopping, buying, driving, and ownership experience second to none because our emphasis is on customer satisfaction. Exceeding the expectations of every customer is the goal of each employee at our Company. Browse our selection of new Toyota models or used cars in Virginia Beach, then find out how easy it is to get a car loan or lease.
In addition to helping drivers find the perfect Toyota match, Checkered Flag Toyota also boasts a state-of-the-art auto repair shop where our highly skilled team of technicians perform routine maintenance as well as other services, such as auto-glass repairs, transmission repairs, and wheel repairs. And, for drivers who prefer to work on their Toyota themselves, we have a variety of Toyota parts (i.e., oil filters, batteries, windshield wipers...).
We are Winners serving Winners, providing a comfortable and supportive business environment, proudly committed to our tradition of excellence.
Checkered Flag has been a charitable organization for groups such as the United Way, Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, DePaul Hospital, the City of Virginia Beach, Neptune Festival, Beach Events, and we are the sole sponsor of the Checkered Flag 8K held around the Shamrock Marathon. There are many more organizations ranging from Girl Scouts to Little League to Military Events which benefit from the community spirit of Checkered Flag.
Our stores and employees are recognized throughout the automotive industry. As we constantly strive to reach the next level of customer satisfaction we earn our way to the top of our manufacturers' highest honors. Every single department within Checkered Flag has something to brag about. We dedicate many efforts to recognize our own employees by promoting within our own organization, contests, awards, and spotlight opportunities.
Toyota Corporate History:
Sakichi Toyoda, a prolific inventor, created the Toyoda Automatic Loom company based on his groundbreaking designs, one of which was licensed to a British concern for 1 million yen; this money was used to help found Toyota Motor Company, which was supported by the Japanese government partly because of the military applications. The Japanese relied on foriegn trucks in the war in Manchuria, but with the Depression, money was scarce. Domestic production would reduce costs, provide jobs, and make the country more independent. By 1936, just after the first successful Toyoda vehicles were produced, Japan demanded that any automakers selling in the country needed to have a majority of stockholders from Japan, along with all officers, and stopped nearly all imports.
Toyoda's car operations were placed in the hands of Kiichiro Toyoda, Sakichi Toyoda's son; they started experimenting with two cylinder engines at first, but ended up copying the Chevrolet 65-horsepower straight-six, using the same chassis and gearbox with styling copied from the Chrysler Airflow. The first engine was produced in 1934 (the Type A), the first car and truck in 1935 (the Model A1 and G1, respectively), and its second car design in 1936 (the model AA). In 1937, Toyota Motor Company was split off.
From 1936 to 1943, only 1,7,57 cars were made - 1,404 sedans and 353 phaetons (model AB), but Toyoda found more success building trucks and busses. The Toyota KB, a 4x4 produced starting in 1941, was a two-ton truck similar to the prewar KC; it had a loading capacity of 1.5 tons and could run up to about 43 mph. The GB was based on the peacetime, 1.5 ton G1 truck, which in turn was based on the Model A1 cars.
The first Toyoda truck was roughly a one-ton to one and a half-ton design, conventional in nature, using (after 1936) an overhead valve six-cylinder engine that appears to have been a clone of the Chevrolet engine of the time: indeed, a large number of parts were interchangeable, and Toyoda trucks captured in the war were serviced by the Allies with Chevrolet components. There was also a forty-horsepower four cylinder model, very similar to the six cylinder in design but rather underpowered for a truck with a full ton of capacity.Post-war (World War II) Toyota History:
In December 1945, Toyota was given permission by the United States military to startup up peacetime production. Toyota Motor Corporation had learned from the American War Department's industrial training program, which worked on process improvement and employee development; the program, abandoned in 1945 by the United States, lived on in Japan as Taiichi Ohno built kaizen and lean manufacturing around it.
After World War II, Toyota was kept busy making trucks, but by 1947 it began making the Model SA, called the Toyopet, a name to stay with Toyota for decades, albeit attached to different cars. The Toyopet was not powerful and had a low top speed - 55 mph from a 27 horsepower engine - but it was designed to be cheap, and to handle the rough roads of postwar Japan. In the five years the SA Toyopet was made, 215 were made. The SD may have been more successful; this taxi version saw 194 copies in just two years. The SF Toyopet was the first truly popular Toyota car, with a modified engine (still putting out 27 horsepower) and a taxi version. An RH model with a 48 horsepower engine came out shortly after By 1955, Toyota was making 8,400 cars per year; by 1965, 600,000 cars per year.
In addition to all these cars, Toyota started producing a civilian truck named the Land Cruiser. Styled like Jeeps, the original Land Cruisers were, according to Schreier, based heavily on the legendary Dodge half-ton weapons carrier as well as the Bantam (predecessor of the Jeep) They used a bigger engine than the Jeep (their Chevrolet-clone six) and a size and configuration more like the Dodge weapons carrier, whose capacity it shares (one half ton).
Starting in 1955, Toyota produced its first luxury car, the
Crown, powered by a four cylinder, 1.5-liter engine with a three-speed
column shift, followed by the 1-liter Corona; only 700 cars per month
were made in 1955, but this rose to 11,750 in 1958, and 50,000 per month
Toyota went International:
Toyota started selling cars in the United States in 1958, importing the Land Cruiser and Toyopet. While neither sold well, the margins on the Land Cruiser were better, and the Toyopet was withdrawn while Toyota designed a car specifically modified for the American market - a strategy which later gave us the Avalon and Camry.
In 1959, the company opened its first plant outside Japan - in Brazil. From that point on, Toyota maintained a philosophy of localizing both production and design of its products (that is, adapting vehicles to the places they will be used, as well as building them there). This builds long-term relationships with local suppliers and local labor. Part of this also means that Toyota does not merely build vehicles overseas, but also designs them there, with a network of both design and R&D facilities in North America and Europe.
The first Americanized Toyota - the Tiara, otherwise known as the Toyota Corona PT20 - came out in 1964. The six-passenger car had a 90 gorss-horsepower engine (probably about 60-70 bhp net); it could reach 90 miles per hour, and was comfortable inside. One year later, the Corona was added at under $2,000; it offered an automatic and factory air as options, very unusual in imported small cars at the time (as was the engine's horsepower rating). Sales hit 6,400 in 1965, and reached 71,000 by 1968, nearly doubling each year until by 1971 Toyota was selling over 300,000 vehicles per year, a far cry from 1964's 2,000. Toyota itself was very small in the late 1950s by world standards, and in 1963 was the 93rd largest non-American corporation in the world - but in 1966 was already 47th (in that time it went from being the 9th largest Japanese corporation to the 6th largest, and for that matter the tenth largest auto manufacturer in the world - it would steadily move up to the #3 position and will soon challenge Ford for #2). In 1967, the Corona sold for a reasonable $1,760 - a little below the smallest Big Three sedans - with a good balance of performance, gas mileage, and comfort.
By 1967, Toyota had become well established in the United States, albeit as a niche player. The Corona four-door sedan was seen as competing mainly against the Volkswagen Beetle, though this was hardly fair to the modern Corona, with its relatively large interior space and relatively comfortable ride. The Corona was known from its early days for quality as well as a low price, though rust was a serious problem until the late 1970s, causing more than one Corona to simply rust in half before it became old enough to have mechanical problems.
Toyota introduced another new car to the US in 1967: the Crown, available as a wagon or a sedan. The semi-luxury car boasted a brand new 137 cubic inch in-line six-cylinder engine delivering 115 horsepower (gross) at 5,200 rpm; that is a bit more than the biggest Plymouth slant six but less than the smallest American V8. The engine was small but had seven main bearings, tuned induction, semi-hemispherical heads, and was built with lightweight alloys. The Crown came with a four-speed manual (at the time three speeds were normal) or a two-speed automatic (though most Americans were used to three speed automatics). One unusual feature was standard three-point seat belts, not to mention reclining bucket seats. The Crown was never a big seller but it certainly did better than many foreign cars in the segment; the sedan sold for $2,635, the wagon for $2,785. (Torque was 127 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm, bore and stroke 2.95 x 3.35, 8.8:1 compression, single two-barrel carb. The Plymouth slant six started at 170 cubic inches by comparison, and delivered 115 hp with 155 lb-ft of torque; the 225 cubic inch slant six put out 145 hp, 215 lb-ft.) The Crown was noted for its road manners, smooth ride, and quiet interior.
Soon, Toyota brought to the US the famous but rare 2000GT, which resembled a British sports car with a massive hood and nearly no cabin or trunk. The car had set 16 world speed and endurance records by 1966, with a dual overhead cam six-cylinder engine (150 hp, 121 cid) and five-speed manual transmission. A specially made convertible version was featured in You only live twice. The 2000 GT had surprisingly slow 0-60 times of over 10 seconds, but cornering apparently made up for it, and the quarter-mile went by in a decent enough 15.9 seconds (about the same as a 1995 Neon). Not quite a muscle car, but it probably handled better than the best Detroit had to offer. Toyota also had a variety of trucks for sale in the late 1960s, as detailed in our various truck pages (see the top-of-page menu).
The Corolla, to be America's favorite small car, was first
imported in 1969, two years after its first Japanese production,
followed by small pickups that earned a strong reputation for
reliability and durability.
Toyota instituted a three year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty starting in 1988.
Scion began in the early 2000s, starting with three cars based off the platform of the old Echo (but brought up to date and refined), with two engines - a small one for the xA and xB, and a 2.4 with an added 50 or so horsepower for the sporty tC. Scion sales were immediately strong in the early-introduction states, leading to a nationwide (United States) launch that, with very little advertising, was still remarkably successful.
Toyota participates in community activities, sponsoring educational and cultural programs as well as research.
Today, Toyota is the world's second largest
manufacturer of automobiles in both unit sales and in net sales. In the
United States, Toyota has roughly double the sales of Honda, and is
edging out Chrysler Group to be the #3 seller. It produces over 5.5
million vehicles per year, equivalent to one every six seconds!
Research for Toyota's History was done here.