Off came the Japanese quotas and on came Toyota - like a speeding bullet. In the first two months of 2000, Toyota's European sales are up 48 percent.
Toyota is doing it with products like the designed-for-Europe Yaris and the Lexus IS200. Talk to Toyota executives in Japan - men like product development boss Akahika Saito - and you sense a new commitment to Europe.
But these things don't happen overnight. Toyota has been patiently preparing for this day - building local plants, designing cars with Europeans in mind, restructuring its dealer network and assembling a team of European executives like chief marketer Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz.
Toyota has said it wants to sell 800,000 cars in Europe by 2005. That goal is beginning to sound conservative.