1. About Us
  2. Toyota in Europe
  3. Our journey in Europe
  4. The 1980's

The 1980s

European designs for customers throughout the world 
The 1980s brought further consolidation of our European activities and the development of exciting new ventures that helped us establish a stronger presence in Europe.  

Building the foundations

The 1980s saw the important “first steps” towards the foundations of the extensive manufacturing, research and design facilities we have in the region today. In 1987 we opened the Toyota Technical Centre of Europe in Belgium. Two years later we set up our first marketing services office. Our European operations enjoyed an increasingly high level of autonomy to produce new vehicles that not only cater for European tastes, but also serve as a benchmark for many of the small and compact models we make worldwide.  

First European design centre

Recognising the importance of Europe, we opened our first design centre here in 1989. Called the Toyota Europe Office of Creation (Toyota EPOC), it was to become the creative cradle for new models that would take us right to the heart of the European market. Originally established near Brussels, the centre evolved into the Toyota Europe Design and Development studio, known as ED2. Since 2000,  ED2 is located near Nice in the south of France.  

Designs for Europe

ED2 played a key role in helping us realise our ambition to build a new car to replace the ageing Starlet. It was to reflect customers’ growing environmental awareness by offering much improved fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. This demand was clear both in Japan, and in Europe where super-minis were accounting for around a third of all new car sales. ED2’s goals were to produce a car that was compact in size, yet had a spacious and comfortable interior, designed to appeal to European tastes.  

Yaris becomes Car of the Year

ED2 and their creative colleagues in Japan produced prototype models of a new car, called the Yaris. These were tested in design clinics in Germany, Italy and UK to gauge the reactions of potential customers. The Yaris was given its world debut at the 1998 Paris Motor Show; a historic moment for ED2, as this was its first model to be selected for mass production. The hard work invested in creating the Yaris was rewarded with both European and Japanese “Car of the Year” titles. Wondering where the name comes from? It’s Charis, the Greek god of beauty and elegance.

The 80s in Europe

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