About Kari Toyota
Kari Toyota has a long tradition of quality and service. As a longstanding part of the Twin Ports community, we always treat our customers like family - with respect and honesty. We don't just want you as a customer today, we want you to look to us whenever you are in need of a new vehicle. You can rest assured that when you stop by Kari Toyota in Superior, we will listen to your needs and offer no-pressure solutions. Stop by today and experience the difference!
In 1933 the Kari's built a repair shop on the corner of 6th Street and Cumming Avenue. Still using an outside ramp, they also had an indoor hydraulic lift that brought some of the work inside.
Because of WWII restrictions, they had to close up shop in 1940.The seven cars they had at the time of the closure sold quickly after the war. Foreseeing industry growth after the war, Edwin decided to erect a new building at 1002 Ogden Avenue. The new garage was built with several innovations for the time, including radiant heat and indirect, florescent lighting. The building is still used today as Kari Toyota's parts and service center
Henry Kari passed away in 2001 at the age of 87.
Henry's sons, Wayne, Jim, and grandson Chris continue to carry on the
We still adhere to Henry's philosophy, "If you give
the customer a fair deal and take care of them after the sale, they will
come back to do business with you again."
Our thanks to all the customers, employees and businesses that helped make us what we are today.
From Bicyles to Car Parts
In the late 1920s, Edwin Kari and his sons, Henry and Ray, started repairing bicycles in their garage. They salvaged bikes from junkyards, repaired them and sold them to earn extra money. They also pumped gas and repaired vehicles on an outside ramp. Not too pleasant in the northland's famous winters.
In 1937 Henry went to Detroit to attend the Michigan Trade School where he studied welding and body work. There he met Henry Ford. With that meeting, the idea for a car dealership business was born. The Kari's became a Studebaker dealer in 1939. Henry ran the body shop and Edwin and Ray were the mechanics. They averaged one sale per week, not bad at the time.
Studebaker was at its height in 1949, but fell on hard times gradually through the 50s and early 60s. The company folded in 1966. The Kari's decided to take on the International Harvester light duty truck line in 1965 and the Simca and English Sunbeam car lines sold through Chrysler. Chrysler pulled both lines out of the US Market two years later. International Harvester dropped their light truck line, so in 1983, the Kari's decided to take on Chrysler's Renault-AMC car line. Renault merged with Chrysler in 1987 and become the Jeep/Eagle line.
In 1968, Kari Garage took on the Toyota motor line. The timing was perfect - Toyotas were being sold in droves in the late 60s. Toyota started building cars in 1933. Their first foray into the American market in 1957was a disaster. The Toyota Crown was made for Japanese driving conditions, not for the faster, more wide-open driving conditions in the US. Toyota embarked on a six year technological development program and the result was the Toyota Corona in 1966. One year after the Kari's took the Toyota line on, Toyota had captured over 53% of the import market. The 1973 Oil Crisis turned many people away from mid-sized and large cars and firmed Toyota's grasp of the American market. Today, Toyota is one of the largest automobile companies in North America and the world. The Toyota Camry is the #1 selling car in the U.S., and the Toyota Corolla is the #1 selling car of all time worldwide. Toyota also heads almost every rating class there is from small car to sport utility vehicles. Toyota products excel in reliability and customer recommendation and outshine the competition in almost every area of comparison.
In 1987, increasing sales necessitated a move to a larger showroom with more office space at 1002 Tower Avenue. The Kari's sold the Jeep line in 2001, making Kari's exclusively a Toyota dealership.