Traditionally foreign carmakers have always wanted to tout their investments in the United States. This is nothing new. They were doing this long before Trump started his “America First” rant.
The reality is that most major car manufacturers have operations all over the globe. It no longer makes sense to classify most brands as strictly American or strictly German or strictly Japanese, etc.
Toyota is just one of the many “foreign” manufacturers that designs and builds a lot of cars in the United States. And they want everyone to know that.
That’s why they ran these ads promoting their investment in the good ol’ USA.
The first of the two ads we’ll look at today shows a bunch of clean-cut kids who are from Indiana and like to play basketball.
What also comes from Indiana? Toyotas, of course! These days, the Highlander and Sequoia SUVs are built there, along with the Sienna minivan.
To learn more about Toyota’s American investments, there’s some really teeny-tiny print in the bottom left-hand corner of the ad listing www.toyota.com/usa.
That’s simple enough and should be easy to maintain as it’s just a subsection of Toyota’s main website. Where does it take us today?
The site still exists, which is excellent! No doubt, it looks a little different than it did August of 2000 when the ad above appeared, but it’s great to see Toyota preserving the URL all this time later.
Next up, we have a similar ad from July of 1997:
Once again, Toyota is highlighting its U.S. operations, this time talking about Kentucky, where Toyota still makes the Camry and Avalon along with a couple of other models.
Buried in the extremely tiny print in the lower left-hand corner is a reference to www.toyotausa.com.
I might need to re-scan that part of the ad — it looks like it has been Photoshopped, but that’s not the case. This is exactly how the site was printed in the ad.
While the Kentucky ad appeared a few years before the Indiana ad (maybe they both ran together for a while???), it’s interesting to see the evolution of the domain. The earlier ad lists toyotausa.com which is its own top-level domain (and kind of catchy, I think). Years later, in the Indiana ad, they went with toyota.com/usa. That’s fine and there may be some marketing reason behind the switch that I’m not aware of, but it still strikes me as interesting.
These days, where does toyotausa.com go?
Oh. Well, that’s a bit unexpected.
But we already know that Toyota has a whole section devoted to its American manufacturing operations, so why not redirect to www.toyota.com/usa?
It’s a bit of a missed opportunity, but it’s definitely better than letting the domain die entirely.