Toyota, on the other hand, was nothing, at least as far as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were concerned. European imports - sporty cars and the strange but popular Volkswagen Beetle - were causing some stir and forcing Detroit to respond with cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and Corvair and the Ford Mustang. Cars from Japan, a nation synonymous with exporting cheap toys, hardly seemed a threat.
Some on the American side of Toyota's new venture were worried that shoppers might not take a car called the Toyopet very seriously. But Americans were embracing a car called the Beetle, weren't they?
But even Toyota soon recognized that the Toyopet really didn't warrant being taken seriously, whatever it was called. It was underpowered, uncomfortable, lacking in even basic amenities, and it cost more than better offerings from European competitors.