Tag: JDM

By on October 12, 2017

2017 Toyota Corolla Fielder Wagon JDM - Image: ToyotaToyota Motor Corporation is considering the possibility of cutting its home market product lineup by half.

Toyota currently markets more than 60 models in Japan, but there’s no expectation that the brand will suddenly cull its lineup to just 30 models by 2018. It will be a very long process, and it’s one that is likely to have minimal impact on the United States.

But which models are likely to go first? Perhaps one of the ten vans on offer. (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2017

2018-toyota-century

Earlier this year, Rare Rides memorialized the end of the long-lived V-12 Toyota Century. At that time there was no word on a new Century replacement, so Toyota was left with a Lexus vehicle as flagship — the quite flashy LS600hL.

However, the flagship title changed hands yesterday after a new Century dawned.

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2017

Toyota FJ Cruiser Final Edition - Image: ToyotaHas there ever been a better time for a Toyota Tacoma-based, offroad-oriented, style-conscious SUV? It’s 2017. Americans are fully invested in the idea of riding high. Jeep is selling 17,000 Wranglers per month. At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota just sold a record number of RAV4s: more than 43,000 in August. In between, Subaru is selling more than 38,000 crossovers monthly.

As total industry-wide auto sales fell 3 percent through the first two-thirds of 2017, SUV/crossover volume is up 6 percent.

Toyota itself is selling more than 16,000 Tacomas per month, the pickup on which a potential second-gen FJ Cruiser would likely be based. That fact alone is likely a factor that limits an FJ Cruiser rebirth. Indeed, Toyota hasn’t sold the FJ Cruiser in the United States since the 2014 model year, having reached its end just as the U.S. SUV/crossover trend really broke through. Americans now buy 14-percent more utility vehicles than cars.

But the Toyota FJ Cruiser lives on, at least for a little while longer, if only in the Japanese domestic market. This is — say it in a movie trailer voiceover pitch — the Toyota FJ Cruiser Final Edition. (Read More…)

By on September 14, 2017

2018 Mazda CX-8 rear - Image: MazdaWe’ve told you before. Now, with the Mazda CX-8 making its proper debut, we’ll tell you one more time after yet more confirmation from Mazda.

The Mazda CX-8 is not coming to America.

Mazda has its reasons. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

suzuki alto works rs-r

Anyone with an interest in odd cars probably has at least a passing fascination with Japanese kei cars. As a member of that small subset of enthusiasts, I have a long-held fantasy that involves owning a Suzuki Alto Works, Daihatsu Mira Turbo, Honda Today, or Honda Acty. But the closest North America ever got was the i-MiEV, which Mitsubishi stretched a few inches to comply with U.S. crash ratings — nullifying its official status as a kei.

Sure, most kei cars are utter garbage from a driving perspective, but their utilitarian quirkiness and microscopic road-presence are difficult to replicate on anything other than a moped. They’re also stupidly affordable, which is one of the reasons they’ve persisted in Japan.

However, that’s beginning to change now that their home country has begun taxing them into extinction. The miniature breed, brought to life specifically so budget-minded motorists can have a vehicle and always find parking, lost roughly 25 percent of its yearly volume since Japan targeted them in 2014 — resulting in a sudden annual deficit of nearly 550,000 pint-sized vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry production line - Image: ToyotaWe learned early in July that many of the early 2018 Toyota Camrys available in Toyota’s U.S. showrooms wouldn’t be built in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant.

Through June, not a single one of the 2016 and 2017 Camrys sold in America were imported. But all of the 2018 Toyota Camrys sold in July came across the Pacific from Japan.

Granted, most of the Camrys leaving Toyota showrooms are still old new Camrys, not new new Camrys. (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2017

2018 Mazda CX-8 - Image: MazdaFirst, we heard about the Mazda CX-8.

Then the Mazda CX-8 was spotted on the streets of Chicago, Illinois. Which is in the United States.

And then Mazda confirmed that the CX-8 would most definitely not be exported from Japan. As the CX-4 was a China-oriented model, the CX-8 would be geared towards a Japanese market for which the CX-9 is just too big. But then we heard the Mazda CX-8 might be exported from Japan, but only to Australia.

And now, with official imagery, it’s not difficult to understand why Mazda USA has no need for the CX-8. It looks almost exactly like a CX-9 with six fewer inches of length, five fewer inches of width, and a marginally lower roofline.

Americans do not need a smaller Mazda CX-9. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2017

Mazda CX-8 interior - Image: MazdaThe Mazda CX-4 is essentially a more style-centric variant of the Mazda CX-5.

But you can’t have it. The Mazda CX-4 is for China alone.

The upcoming Mazda CX-8, meanwhile, straddles the middle ground between the CX-5 and CX-9: smaller than a CX-9, but still roomy enough to squeeze in a third row of seats, unlike the CX-5.

Our interest in the CX-8 was piqued when the right-hand-drive Mazda was seen parked on Chicago streets two months ago. But Mazda wouldn’t budge: this was no sign that the CX-8 was bound for America. Instead, the CX-8 is intended only to serve a purpose as Mazda’s large vehicle in Japan, where the CX-9 is too big.

It seems, however, that the Mazda CX-8 is destined for the export market after all. (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2017

Mazda SUV lineup: CX-3, CX-4, CX-5, CX-8, CX-9 - Images: Mazda

Spotted recently on the streets of Chicago was a Japanese crossover that will never — not in final production form — actually make it to the streets of Chicago.

Nor to the streets of any other American city, for that matter. Wearing no camo and sitting in broad daylight, the diesel-powered Mazda CX-8 was photographed by Peter Lazar, albeit not from the front.

When the 2018 Mazda CX-8 is launched later this year, its primary market will be Mazda’s Japanese home base. “It will not be sold in the U.S., as CX-9 fills that role quite well,” Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown told TTAC yesterday.

Mazda also re-confirmed that the CX-4, a more rakish take on the CX-5, is also still primarily a Chinese market crossover that will not make its way across the Pacific. In other words, 40 percent of Mazda’s global utility vehicle lineup stays outside the mighty SUV market that is America. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

Toyota Century, image via eBay

Heads of state and other dignitaries typically like to ride around in large, sedan-shaped vehicles. Offerings like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and contemporary Rolls-Royce sedans have long been the go-to around the world. Of course, there are exceptions. For places like the United States, national pride dictates an American-made Cadillac or Lincoln.

The Japanese also have a strong sense of national pride, and for decades there was only one vehicle appropriate for heads of state and CEOs — the Toyota Century.

Now it’s gone.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

1990 Toyota Town Ace

High atop Mount Forbidden, the “other market’s” imported vehicle stands alone. It awaits that special day, some 25 years in the future, when the clouds will break and a descent into the mortal realm is possible.

And, after that special day comes, the vehicle gets a chance to stand out beyond all normal cars in any given American parking lot. It was never meant to be seen in this country, and yet someone with an entrepreneurial spirit made it possible. Come with me now, as we experience JDM van goodness.

(Read More…)

By on March 21, 2017

1995 Mitsubishi 300GT VR-4 Spyder

Over time, certain terms begin to evoke very specific images in the minds of human beings. For instance, when someone utters the word “truck,” a medium-blue color circa-2010 F-150 comes to mind. “Luxury sedan” triggers competing images of a circa 1998 Lexus LS400 (in gold) and a W126 Mercedes-Benz S-Class of two-tone variety, probably black over light grey.

And “sports car”… well, that’s a red basket-handle Toyota Supra, or our Rare Ride of today: a Mitsubishi 3000GT.

(Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

1998 Toyota MEGA CRUISER, Image: Goo-net

In our last Rare Rides entry, we saw a Saleen sporting a lot of engine and little room, carrying a maximum of two physically fit human beings inside the cramped cockpit. That’s assuming neither of them brought any baggage, emotional or otherwise.

Today, we’re going in the other direction. I present to you what is undoubtedly the most intense passenger vehicle Toyota has ever produced: MEGA CRUISER. And it’s in full capital letters for a reason.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

1994 Chevrolet Impala SS Front  at United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka Lemon Lot, Japan, Image: © 2016 Thomas Kreutzer/The Truth About Cars

When I started kicking tires and taking photos at the Fleet Activities Yokosuka Lemon Lot, I was hoping to document the dark underbelly of the Japanese Domestic scene. I figured I would find all sorts of bottom dwellers — you know, cars that should have been consigned to the junk pile years ago. That hasn’t been the case.

There are tons of large, respectable people movers on display and next to them are dozens of cheerful, little economy cars. Once in awhile we get a performance car, or at least something that could have been sporty if it had the right options, but I have yet to see any bestickered, black hooded, wanna-be drift cars. Finding interesting cars has been really difficult, so today I will show you something I have hitherto been ignoring – the imports. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2016

Thomas' Honda Mobilio sits beside his Chrysler Town & Country in Japan, Image: © 2016 Thomas Kreutzer/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

The Town & Country I worked so hard to import into Japan was supposed to be my wife’s. I had planned to buy whatever I wanted and, although I hadn’t quite decided on what that was going to be, classic Japanese iron was on my mind. The second-generation Toyota Soarer and the ’90s-era Toyota Celica GT-Four were leading candidates. I was having fun considering other options, too.

A second minivan, however, was not among them.

(Read More…)

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