The WiLL brand was a marketing approach shared by a small group of Japanese companies who decided to offer products and services that focused on a younger demographic from August 1999 until July 2004 in Japan. The companies that participated were the Kao Corporation (a manufacturer of personal hygiene, household detergents, and cosmetics), Toyota, Asahi Breweries, Panasonic, Kinki Nippon Tourist Company, Ltd, Ezaki Glico Candy, and Kokuyo Co., Ltd.
(an office furniture and stationery manufacturer). Toyota also engaged in a similar "youth oriented" approach in North America, with the Project Genesis program. This selective marketing experiment reflected a Japanese engineering philosophy called Kansei engineering, which was used by other Japanese companies.
Toyota offered three individually designed cars, based on the mechanicals of existing Toyota models. The series was intended to appeal to markets that were not covered by Toyota's mainstream range, and to discover how commercially feasible such unusual designs were.
The American Scion range is based on a similar concept. All WiLL vehicles were only sold in Japan, and only at Toyota Vista Store locations. When the WiLL project ended in 2004, Toyota stopped producing WiLL-branded vehicles, and renamed the Toyota Vista dealerships to Toyota NETZ, that coincided with the launch of the North American introduction of Scion, using lessons learned from the WiLL project.
Some former Vista models were rebranded as Lexus (レクサス Rekusasu), such as the Altezza and the Aristo, while other products have been taken over by the "Toyota NETZ", which was already selling the Toyota ist and the Toyota RAV4. "NETZ" is an acronym for "Network of Energetic Teams for Zenith".
The WiLL Vi is a compact car, produced from 2000 to 2001, with distinctive styling combining elements of many cars. The WiLL Vi was designed by the then newly formed Virtual Venture Company, headed by Jim Shimizu. The unique-appearing rear window had earlier appeared on the Mazda Carol, the Ford Anglia (1959–1968), and the Citroen Ami. The "neo-retro" look represented a period in Japan where vehicles took on the styling of historic vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Nissan Be-1, Nissan Figaro, Nissan Pao, the Toyota Origin, the Subaru Vivio, and the Mitsubishi Minica.
The first Toyota car ever built outside Japan was assembled by AMI in April 1963, the Toyota Tiara. The AMI production of Toyotas expanded in the 1960s to also include the Crown, Corona, and Corolla assembled at AMI's Port Melbourne factory. Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan purchased 10% of outstanding AMI shares. As a fast-growing company, took a controlling interest in AMI in 1968 as a contract with the British Leyland ended. Toyota also purchased a 40% share in Thiess Holdings, an importer of light commercial vehicles, which it renamed Thiess Toyota.