Writing "Toyoda" in Japanese requires 10 brush strokes, explains John R. Malott, president of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, but writing "Toyota" requires eight.
While "8" is considered an auspicious number, "10" is not, said Malott, who visited with the company during his years as a State Department official. "Ten" consists of two strokes crossed against each other and resembles the "plus" symbol, or even a crossroads or an uncertain path. Not a good omen for a company.
"It's a very Japanese way of thinking," Malott said.
Why the car company is named Toyota, not Toyoda :: washingtonpost.com
(Thanks to pal, Maura, for this bit of tid.)