Toyota began as Toyoda, the founder's family name. In 1936, it held a contest for a new logo to represent speed, and received 27,000 entries, from which one was finally selected. This also led to a change in the company's name to ‘Toyota' since it sounded better in Japanese. The eight-stroke count in the new name is reportedly associated with wealth and good fortune. The original logo is no longer found on the vehicles it manufactures, but remains the corporate emblem used in Japan.
In 1989, to commemorate its 50th year, Toyota introduced the logo that it is using until today—the three ovals in the new logo that combine to form the letter T, which stands for Toyota.
The overlapping of the two perpendicular ovals inside the larger oval represents the symbiotic relationship between the customer and the company, while the larger oval represents the “global expansion of Toyota's technology and unlimited potential for the future”.