Which Toyota Models Are Made In Japan? Japan VS. The USA

Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by

As Toyota keeps growing, it keeps opening manufacturing plants in different locations worldwide, including the U.S. Most Toyota models in the U.S. are made in North America, but some are made exclusively in Japan. These models include Toyota Mirai, Prius,4Runner land cruiser.

Toyotas made in Japan are known to have exceptional build quality. Some Toyota models are built exclusively in Japan because of the quality of parts used on them. Several models are not made in North America but are imported from Japan. A good example is the Toyota 4runner which is exclusively made in Japan at the factory located in Aichi, Japan, then shipped to the U.S. and other locations worldwide. Toyota Yaris is also made in Japan, and France then sent to the U.S.

This article looks at the different Toyota models available in the U.S. but made in Japan and their specifications. We also look at the difference between USA and Japan built Toyotas and which ones are better. Keep reading!

Toyota Models Made In Japan

Toyota Models Made In Japan

Toyota has ten manufacturing plants in the U.S. and 14 plants in North America. These plants produce vehicle parts and components and also assemble various Toyota models. Most of the Toyotas available for sale in the U.S. are built here from scratch. However, some Toyota models are imported from Japan because they are not manufactured here. The Toyota models that are strictly made in Japan only are:

1. 4Runner

2. Toyota 86

3. F.J. cruiser

4. Mirai 

5. Echo

6. Prius 

There are also some Toyota models built in Japan and elsewhere available in the U.S., such as the Toyota Yaris (made in Japan and France)

1. Toyota 4runner

Toyota 4runners are built in Japan at the Toyotas plant in Tahara Aichi or the Hino motors plant in Hamura. This model is a compact, midsize SUV sold worldwide since 1984. In Japan, the model is known as Toyota Hilux surf; it is pretty popular and ranks 5th as the longest ranking vehicle. As of 2022, the Toyota 4runner is sold in the United States, Peru, Panama, Chile, Canada, Bolivia, Bahamas, Colombia, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.

Specifications Of Toyota 4Runner

Below is a table showing the specs of the fifth-generation Toyota 4runner

Vehicle classMidsize SUV
Body style5-door SUV
ProductionAugust 2009- present
Model years2010-present
AssemblyTahara plant in Aichi Japan
Designer Koichi Suga 
Transmission4-speed automatic l4,2010 only5-speed automatic (V6)
Engine Gasoline:2.7L 2TR-FEl4 (157hp, SR5 2WD,2010 MY only)4.0L 1GR-FE V6 (270 hp)
Wheelbase 109.8 in

2. Toyota 86

Toyota 86 is developed jointly by Subaru and Toyota at the Subaru plant in Gunma, Ota, Japan. This model is a 2+2 fastback coupe noted for its naturally-aspirated engine with a rear-wheel drive and front engine. Its hood, roof, and front fenders are mde from aluminum to balance the engine’s weight and lower the center of gravity. The second generation of the Toyota 86 debuted in 2020 but went on sale in the U.S. in late 2021. Below is a table showing the specs of the newest model; 2nd generation Toyota 86 GR86

Vehicle class Fastback coupe
production2021-present
Model years2022-present
engine2.4L FA24DH4
Transmission6-speed automatic6-speed manual
Power output231-235PS (170-173 Kw;228-232 hp)
wheelbase2575mm
Kerb weight1270-1307 kg
length4265mm

3. Toyota F.J. cruiser

Toyota FJ cruiser

The F.J. Cruiser is a retro-style midsize SUV that has been in production since 2006. This model was made by Hino Motors, a Toyota subsidiary based in Hamura, Tokyo, Japan. This model was sold in the U.S. until 2014 when production was discontinued due to a decline in sales. The vehicle is quite reliable and has impressive features to support off-road and daily driving. Below is a summary of the F.J. cruiser specs

Vehicle classMidsize SUV
Production 2006-20142008-present (F.J. cruiser is still made for the middle east)
Model years2007-2014
Designer Jinn Won Kim
AssemblyHamura, Tokyo, Japan (Hino motors)
Engine Petrol: 4.0L 1GR-FE V6
transmission6-speed manual 4WD5-speed automatic

4. Toyota Mirai

The Toyota Mirai is famous for its hydrogen fuel cell technology with zero emissions. This midsize luxury sedan is made in the Motomachi plant in Aichi, Toyota City, Japan. According to the United States Environmental protection Agency, Toyota Mirai is the most fuel-efficient hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the market. This model also has a record of traveling 845 miles(1360km) with a full tank of 5.6kg hydrogen.

Vehicle classMidsize luxury car
productionDecember 2014-present
Body style4-door sedan
layoutFront-motor, front-wheel-drive rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive
transmission1-speed
Electric motor4JM fuel cell-powered 113Kw(152hp)
wheelbase109.4in

5. Toyota Echo

The Toyota echo, also called Toyota Platz or Toyota Yaris, is a subcompact car manufactured between 1999-2005. It was made in the Takaoka plant in Aichi, Japan. This model targeted younger buyers, which is why it didn’t sell much. The vehicle has a controversial placement of the gauges and speedometer; they are at the center and not at the steering wheel. This model was succeeded by the Toyota Belta and Yaris sedan.

Vehicle classSubcompact car
productionAugust 1999-November 2005200-2012 
Model years2000-2005
Designer Yoshiharu Nakajima 
Layout Front-engine, four-wheel drive

6. Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius is known for its hybrid drivetrain that combines an electric motor with an internal combustion engine. It is a clean and fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle that is sold worldwide. This model is manufactured in the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota Aichi and the Fujimatsu plant in Kariya Aichi. The Toyota Prius is the industry’s first vehicle to use an electric A/C compressor for cooling. It is a popular vehicle loved for its fuel efficiency and reliability. Below is a table showing the specifications of the 4th generation of Toyota Prius

Vehicle classCompact car
Model years2001-present
Body style5-door hatchback
layoutFront-engine, four-wheel drive

Differences Between Toyotas Made In Japan And Those Made In The U.S.

Most people are curious to find out if Toyotas made in Japan will differ from those made in the U.S; These vehicles do not have any noticeable differences in physical appearance because they are made using the same parts. They also follow a similar manufacturing process regardless of where they are made. However, Toyotas made in Japan are perceived to have a better build quality and are also made from durable and solid parts. It is common to find owners trying to pinpoint differences between made-in-Japan and USA in most Toyota forums.

How To Differentiate Toyotas Made In Japan From Those Made In The U.S.

You can tell where your car was made by checking the VIN (vehicle identification number). You can find the VIN on your vehicle’s paperwork or the front,driver-side window. The VIN would start with a letter if your car were made outside the U.S. For example, Toyotas made in japan have their VIN beginning with the letter J. those made in the U.S. will have a VIN starting with a number.

Below is a table showing where different VINs show your vehicle’s country of origin. This table will help you determine where your Toyota was built by looking at the VIN.

Country of originThe number at the beginning of the VIN
USA1,4,5
Mexico3
canada2
New Zealand7
australia6
South America 8 or 9
Country of originThe letter at the beginning of the VIN
KKorea
LEngland
WGermany 
Zitaly

Wrapping Up

If you are torn between buying a Toyota made in the U.S. or made in Japan, we recommend getting it made in Japan as long as it is within your budget. The kaizen practice in Japan makes the Toyota models manufactured there better quality. The vehicle is less likely to break down, and it will serve you for years. This is not to say that it is all doom for the Toyotas made in the USA; since the vehicles are made from similar parts following the same processes, they are also of excellent quality.

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