By on October 7, 2015

Toyota Hilux. Picture courtesy of Toyota

(Probably because it’s the most popular truck.)

Automotive News reported that Toyota is cooperating with U.S. authorities in uncovering why members of the terrorist group ISIS seem to be so fond of Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers, which consistently rank among the top 5 best-selling vehicles for many Middle Eastern countries, prompted by an investigation* by ABC News.

The automaker said the company forbids directly selling cars to paramilitary or terrorist organizations because of course it does. The company said it would be impossible to control indirect or illegal sales to terrorist organizations because of course it is.

ABC News hasn’t reached out to Ford to see how it controls sales of F-150 trucks to American drug cartels.

The Hilux and Land Cruiser consistently appear in propaganda for ISIS, which prompted officials from the U.S. Treasury to ask Toyota if it was directly supplying an armed conflict in the Middle East with trucks. Haaretz reports:

“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said Mark Wallace, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who is CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit working to expose the financial support networks of terror groups.

According to Automotive News, Toyota officials said it has “procedures and contractual commitments in place to help prevent our products from being diverted for unauthorized military use.”

ABC News reported that based on what they saw on “Top Gear” once, Toyota Hilux pickups are pretty tough and probably reliable based on a series of “tests”.

Toyota trucks have a rich and varied history in countries where they are sold. In some places they’re used for hauling things, in other places they’re sold for going places too.

The automaker said it would end delivery to networks if it discovered those trucks were going to ISIS members.

*ABC News showed up with cameras and microphones to a Toyota dealer meeting once.

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128 Comments on “Why Is The Most Popular Truck in the Middle East Used by Terrorists?...”


  • avatar
    Kosher Polack

    “Toyota trucks have a rich and varied history in countries where they are sold. In some places they’re used for hauling things, in other places they’re sold for going places too.”

    Give this man the Pulitzer!

    Seriously though, do people in mass-market media ever just stare at the ground and sigh at what their job has become?

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      The lines. You should read between them.

      • 0 avatar
        northshorerealtr

        One of the funniest/most sarcastic/snarkiest articles I’ve read lately–and a great break from “The VAG Chronicle” installments.
        Nicely done!

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @BBall,
        There appears to be Three Hezbollahs, or Hizbollah. Main Group in Lebanon, with thousands of missiles, includes the new Pantsyr anti- aircraft missile system. . Then.we have Khatib Hezbollah,based in Iraq, the ones with the Abrahams. Lastly a separate group in Iran

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “[…] why members of the terrorist group ISIS seem to be so fond of Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers, which consistently rank among the top 5 best-selling vehicles for many Middle Eastern countries […]”

      It takes being in government to not instantly understand the connection there, I guess.

      They’re popular, capable, and durable.

      *Obviously* a paramilitary organization sourcing from the used market is going to flock to them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kosher Polack

      Well that didn’t work!
      TTAC, gimme more text editing options so I can parse my comments to give better sarcasm cues.

      Anyway, short answer long; Aaron’s sarcasm deserves a Pulitzer, people at ABC News could stand a little introspection.

    • 0 avatar
      swaghole

      There was even a war named after these trucks.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_War

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Jeff S,
      Not a problem getting a new Hilux in the ME,as much a problem.as getting a F150 in the US

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “Terrorists” to whom—The U.S.? Russia? Turkey?

    “Terrorists” WHEN? Beforr or AFTER “we” in the “west” armed them, before blowback, during proxy wars?

    Oh yeah…

    I JUST WENT THERE.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Terrorism is a tactic, so it don’t matter much who’s the target. Though in ISIS’ case, the target is mostly “local civilians”.

      (Terrorism: The tactic of influencing policy or demanding obedience via the use of attacks on civilian targets, specifically ones designed to cause terror of further attacks in response [thus the name].

      Blowing up US troops with IEDs is not terrorism – they’re a legitimate war target; shooting every civilian who sings a song because you think music insults God, and thus you want to intimidate them all into stopping, *is*.)

      You went there, but you don’t know what you’re talking about in either statement, so … try not going there again?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        The same (last paragraph) could be said for all of his posts,especially those concerning “Suburbans and extended-length Tahoes”.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          SoHo Cadillac has completely failed to terrorize BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, let alone Lexus.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            JdN needs to declare a jihad.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Can we declare a fatwa against misusing the word terrorist?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The U.S. & its current allies (soon to be ex-allies) could let some Chevy Colorados “walk” into the hands of ISIS/ISIL as a sensible counter-insurgency strategy.

            Parts would break & fall off traversing even moderately rugged roads, they’d constantly break down, and then, refuse to start when the AC130s show up.

            No modifications from the factory required!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    When will the “Comb Over in Chief” demand an investigation and the expulsion of all Japanese car companies from the USA?

    This is stupid.

    If war broke out in the USA or Canada we’d see HD pickups as the most common weapons platform just because they are the most common.

    How about investigating how an American plumber’s truck ended up as a weapon’s platform?

    http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2014/12/18/us-plumber-threatened-after-his-truck-used-by-terrorists-in-syria/

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    “The ISIS brand”?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    “ABC News hasn’t reached out to Ford to see how it controls sales of F-150 trucks to American drug cartels.”

    Uh, they just go and buy them in Mexico or the US. It’s not like they are set up as a fleet customer at a Ford dealership under the name “Sinaloa Cartel”. There are plenty of people and businesses that launder drug money and buy trucks.

    A word of warning for those traveling in Mexico: DO NOT drive through Mexico in a Crew Cab truck. Someone will want it way more than you do.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    I wonder which of the three Top Gear presenters ISIS finds more offensive.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    All I remember from my time all over Afghanistan and Iraq is that the Hilux was king.

    That there is a some direct connection between the manufacturer and AK-47 toting terrorists is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Yep. During my two tours of Afghanistan, I spent many an hour in one Hilux or another. What we (the US government) paid to lease those things should have been labeled a war crime. I am sure that what we left behind quickly made it out to the general Afghani public.

      They are just as popular in Saudi Arabia. I lost count of how many white, red-trimmed Hilux were out there terrorizing the streets (I can’t bring myself to call what they do “driving” over there). At least in Saudi, I was driving a Tahoe…

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    So terrorists like reliable and capable off road vehicles too whooda thunk? Must be a slow news day.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “ABC News reported that based on what they saw on “Top Gear” once, Toyota Hilux pickups are pretty tough and probably reliable based on a series of “tests”.”

    Where was this? Just looked in the ABC article and the Automotive News article – not there. Nor were the terms “tough,” “reliable,” or “Top Gear,” “test,” or “tests.”

    • 0 avatar

      In the ABC News video spot, they open with clips from Top Gear’s Hilux torture episodes.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Righto. I don’t watch attached videos to articles like that. Thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          06V66speed

          Corey D- you no like watching the failed efforts of Top Gear’s attempts at trying to kill the HiLux?

          That episode is glorious. A thousand lashes for ABC News for smiting Toyota with this bologna.

          Slow times at the ol’ news desk.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I just don’t watch news videos as the vapid nature puts me off. Here’s 45 seconds of intro and fluff for a 6 second bit of information!

            Also, no sound at work anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I thought Hilux torture was outlawed by the Geneva convention.

          • 0 avatar
            06V66speed

            I’d imagine HiLux is practically a martyr in the eyes of ISIS and their other terrorist group cohorts.

            Meanwhile, back at the ranch (in the good ol’ US of A), I’ve seen what seems to be a surge in early to late 80’s Toyota pickup ownership popularity amongst rural residents here in Missouri. I’ve been seeing them more and more in the back country as of late.

            And for the record- who doesn’t appreciate all things Land Cruiser? They’re highly regarded in Iraq; yet, the uppity’s in the highest income-per-capita areas around here in St. Louis certainly seem to approve, as well.

            Sketchy, indeed! (/sarc)

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        ABC news believes that Top Gear is a reliable source of automotive data?
        wow, they are more F^cked up than I thought.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    What should they (ISIS) be driving- rather, representing?

    A western-made Silverado? That makes for some great “Death to America and all western society as we know it” PR. Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I know the 2016 Tacoma has a Go Pro mount for a camera on the windshield. Maybe those Mid East Tacomas have an M60 mount in the bed?

    Besides, when you are in a hurry to torture and persecute someone, the last thing you want is to break down on the side of the road. Apparently rugged, dependable trucks are valued there too.

    I wonder if terrosists set around aruging why a mid-size truck is being used when you can get a full size truck for similar money? Maybe that’s just an internet thing.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Yeah, this’ll distract everyone from the fact that the U.S. accidentally bombed a hospital the day prior.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Clearly ISIS (or ISIL, if you live in DC) hasn’t kept up to date. Try Mazda if you want a car prewired to burn and explode in true jihadi fashion.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    My coworker drives a crew cab Tacoma.

    Perhaps he should be interrogated and placed under surveillance?

    Oh boy. I am now concerned for my safety.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    When asked by ABC news why they were not using cars, like a VW diesel Passat, the terrorists responded: “We don’t mind cutting off heads or mutilating girls, but we draw the line at driving vehicles that do not comply with clean air standards.”

  • avatar
    doublechili

    ISIS should really be using minivans too, but they’re probably overly concerned about what the other terrorist organizations will think of them.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The US government isn’t interested in terrorist vehicle tastes, but in how ISIS is able to acquire so many of them with the OEM supposedly not knowing about it. Obviously, it would be helpful if the pipeline could be cut off or reduced.

    • 0 avatar
      DanHumphrey

      How is Toyota supposed to stop sympathizers from buying trucks? Especially since they’re likely purchasing (extremely popular and common) vehicles from the secondary market?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      More of a concern is how ISIS is getting US armoured vehicles and Tanks, that is a REAL concern. One of the Terrorist groups fighting ISIS and Al Queda ,called Hezbollah , had Abraham Tanks,being pulled by their original transporters

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        From the Iraqis. They have a number of them but apparently can be overtaken by 30 guys in Hiluxes. They can’t do $hit with them though. Good luck finding the amount of cash required to run and fire one. Also, the export Abrams isn’t as good. Plus, the thing that ties everything together is the American tanker crew and battalion. Always, and I mean always, buy the drinks for your tanker friends. They can get you out of jams.

      • 0 avatar
        Von

        +1

        We really should be more careful about giving weapons to our “friends” in that part of the world. Seems like they agree to kill some mutual enemies for us, then once that’s done, turn the guns around and start killing us with it. It’s only been happening for the last 40 years, the memo must be lost in the mail.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well it was a waste of money giving the Iraqis Abrams tanks, but Hezbollah isn’t going to do dick with them. Even in the videos they posted, they were towing the tanks. They can’t afford to drive them around, let alone use them operationally.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m guessing a lot are actually stolen from legitimate owners.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “how ISIS is able to acquire so many of them with the OEM supposedly not knowing about it”

      Akio and his right wing buddies.

      It’s but a small step from shinto hachimakis to islamist head rags.

  • avatar
    rpm1200

    This reads a lot like a Sniff Petrol article (that’s a good thing). But the picture should be captioned, “A Toyota Hilux, yesterday”.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    It’s so cute that ABC thinks these trucks were purchased. Many, if not most, were probably acquired after 6 guys, with AKs still smoking, thanked the widow of the previous owner for her generous donation to the cause.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Off topic, but given the haggling culture prevalent in the Middle East, I’d love to be a fly on the wall come negotiation time at the dealership.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Breaking News from ABC.
    Research has shown that in the last decade a total of 0 fatal car crashes have involved 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Wraiths, making it the safest car in America.
    That only a dozen exist, and most get driven fewer than 200 miles per year was not a factor in this study.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Completely off topic but I just booked ten laps in a Ferrari F430 Scuderia and Porsche 911 Carrera S in Vegas. Hopefully I will survive :)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It comes down the access of spares and maintenance, along with the perceived view that Toyota’s are a better product.

    We have the same here in the Australian Outback. Toyota rules. Why? Because you can procure spares easier, much easier than most any other vehicle.

    As for where they are buying the Toyota’s? Well, anywhere there a large town, in many countries surrounding the region of conflict.

    In any military operation the maintenance of your hardware is a necessity. To may variants will reduce capability. It’s far better to keep “brands” to a minimum.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Al, do you do any wrenching?

      I got an old 1996 Camry and what I’ve been finding out is Toyota seems to design it’s cars so they can be easily repaired. My 1990 f250 is much more annoying to work on in comparison.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Maybe the ISIS had beheaded everyone in the local GM/Ford/Chrysler dealership due to previous dissatisfaction. Only Toyota survived. That must be it.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Everyone the world over, including ISIS members, long ago quit using the phrase “the Cadillac of” to ascribe excellence (or even decent, quality attributes) to weaponry or anything else.

  • avatar
    mjal

    How about this plumber from Texas who trades in his F-150 only to later see the truck in the hands of ISIS:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2876735/How-plumber-s-truck-Texas-ended-hands-Islamic-fighters-lines-Syria.html

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    ABC Special Report: pedophiles prefer plain white vans. Ford, GM and Dodge investigated. More at 10.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s just a subtle reminder, some of the dumbest fukks around, breezed through college and up the corporate chain or federal gov. chain of comand. Scary, in a way.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Go back 14 years ago when the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan. There were a couple of stories about the Taliban’s use and the popularity of the Toyota Hi-Lux pickup and Land Cruiser in the region. All they mentioned that the vehicles were durable and could handle the terrain, no mention of where the money came to buy them. After all it is a country with a semi-functioning economy so yes people have cash or credit and buy trucks and other products.

    I don’t think there were any stories looking into the financing of the Ford Falcon’s used by Argentinean military death squads in the 70’s and 80’s or the ever present Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s with extra dark window tint favored by El Salvador’s ARENA party death squads in the 80’s.

  • avatar
    Von

    Now that NSA has caught all of you discussing terrorism online, don’t be surprised if you have trouble catching your next flight.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I do not know how tough these Hilux trucks are but they do use a lot of spark plugs due to oil burning. Years ago when the Taliban was just starting out one of my export shippers received a request from a Toyota dealer in Saudi Arabia. They were looking for spark plugs for older Hilux trucks and Toyota could not supply them because they were no longer made and stocked. Well my shipper finally made a deal to have the plugs manufactured again and that he would buy a 40 ft container of plugs to make the deal worthwhile. You can guess how many plugs it would take to fill a 40 ft Hi Cube container. As the various news outlets were showing pictures of the Taliban driving across the desert with these old Hilux trucks i had a general idea where these plugs were going. I refused to handle and book the shipment and told my shipper to book with another freight forwarder. I value my license more then his business. He did find a forwarder who moved the plugs to Saudi Arabia and knowing Saudi Arabia those plugs made it to those old Hilux trucks. Funny thing was this same Toyota dealer offered to sell Toyota parts to various Toyota dealers in the states for 50% less then Toyota charges the U S dealers. It seems Toyoda sells parts cheap in Saudi Arabia to try and crush GM. For some countries Business is business regardless who is fighting. Imported many containers from Saudi Arabia to the USA but that is another story.

  • avatar
    phippsj

    The Hilux and 70 series Land Cruiser are not sold in the U.S. However, they are sold in the rest of the world. Both are basic, heavy duty 4×4 utility trucks that are built tough and last forever. Just what an aspiring army needs to get around in a sand box.

    Meanwhile, Australia can’t figure out where 8,000 Toyota trucks have disappeared to.

    This is purely a distraction tactic by our feds to make it look like they are fighting the enemy on all fronts. Yawn…

    My ’05 100 Series Land Cruiser is a far superior ride to the 70 series. Shows how much those ISIS guys know!

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Does GAP insurance cover damage by hellfire missiles.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I wonder if Toyota gives ISIS/Taliban fleet discount. Most of these Hiluxes and Land Cruises come in white and are similarly equipped. This gives a new meaning to Toyota’s advertising slogans “Going Places” and “Oh What a Feeling.” The ISIS edition comes standard with a gun mount in the bed.

  • avatar
    TangoR34

    Let me elaborate what they are saying.

    We all know that cars get shipped to developing countries if it still have life in them but not yet dead enough for the crusher. In Toyota’s case most of their cars fit the bill because they are so damn reliable. So a lot of Toyotas get flooded to continent already. Most of these car would likely come from Japan because they get rid of cars so quickly.

    On top of that they use the same architecture, technologies and components. This makes parts interchangeable. you can pretty much pull something out of a 90s vehicle and it would still fit in a recent model so you spend less time looking for the right part when the models are so compatible.

  • avatar
    wristtwist

    http://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/picard_clapping.gif

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Japan does have mandatory inspections when a vehicle gets old enough that requires a vehicle of a certain age to be completely torn down. It would make sense that some of these Toyotas would be sold oversees to ISIS and the Taliban. There would be plenty of life in these vehicles and much less expensive than buying all new.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    ISIS: “We don’t drive BMWs because we’re not A-holes.”

    From Fallon on The Tonight Show 10-9-15

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