11 Most Popular Japanese Car Brands

Japanese Car Brands

Japan has long been known as the home of some of the best car brands in the world. These brands include Honda, Toyota, and Nissan.


Unfortunately, their cars were not available in other countries for many years or not readily available. Fortunately, this has changed over the last decade or so.

Interestingly, today it’s straightforward to get your hands on some tremendous Japanese-made cars!

Consider these best Japanese car brands for stylish but fun-to-drive vehicles with plenty of character and personality.

1. Honda

Honda is one of the most famous Japanese car brands, founded in 1948 by Soichiro Honda. Known for its reliable engines, Honda’s best-selling car is likely either one of its Accords or Civics. 

Also, it latter offers a competitive fuel economy rating and a roomy interior. Honda also makes several other cars, including an Odyssey minivan, a Ridgeline pickup truck, and an S2000 sports car. 

In addition, It has facilities around the world and joint ventures with Toyota and Isuzu Motors Company Limited.

As of September 2011, it was Japan’s second-largest automaker behind Toyota, manufacturing approximately 3 million vehicles per year worldwide.

2. Toyota

Toyota is one of the largest Japanese car brands and one of its most iconic. It has grown over time and now sells in more than 150 countries. It offers a wide range of vehicles, including pickup trucks, sedans, SUVs, and even electric cars.

Toyota has often been referred to as the eternal company for its consistent design changes that bring better quality each year. It has also been behind several innovations, including hybrid technology, which many manufacturers now use. 

Meanwhile, Its lineup includes cars under sub-brands such as Lexus and Scion. As well as commercial vehicles under Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor Company.

3. Nissan

This is one of the oldest Japanese car brands. It has a long history in motorsports. The brand has some of the most reliable vehicles on the road. This includes its most popular models, including its subcompact Versa hatchback and crossover Murano.

In addition, Nissan is also one of America’s largest automotive exporters; it sells more than half a million cars in overseas markets each year.

In addition to Nissan-branded vehicles, several international brands under Nissan’s umbrella use different platforms.

These include luxury Infiniti sedans and SUVs, French passenger cars made by Renault (which provides luxury marques like Alpine), and commercial trucks for Ford and Chevrolet branded vehicles sold only in North America.

4. Infiniti

Nissan’s luxury brand has been around for more than 20 years. (Infiniti was first launched in 1989 and is a combination of infinite and innovation).

The brand was originally only available in select parts of Asia and North America then. But it has since expanded throughout Europe, too.

In addition, the Infiniti vehicle is also one of the Japanese car brands’ successful racers. The Q50 Eau Rouge won its class at 2015’s Nürburgring 24-Hour Race—one of Europe’s most grueling endurance tests.

An Infiniti Prototype Drift Racer powered by a 600-horsepower V8 engine took first place at 2012’s Formula D Championship Series event.

5. Acura

If you’re looking for something sporty, Acura has you covered. Made by Honda, Acura is known for its performance vehicles and luxury appeal.

Today, Acura focuses on four vehicle categories: The Legend sedan, TSX sports sedan, MDX crossover, and RDX compact crossover.

Interestingly, in 2012, Acura sold more than 100,000 vehicles in America. Due to steadily increasing sales every year since 1999, it sold only 43,764 cars. Acura is ranked No. 23 in U.S. car sales volume by Automotive News/Ward’s Dealer Business.

6. Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi is one of the largest Japanese car brands based in Japan. It began as a small business importing Western technology. But it now builds SUVs, sports cars, and sedans for domestic and foreign markets.

However, Its name comes from three diamonds, representing three entities coming together. These include Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Mitsubishi Electric — to create one united company. Today, its logo features three red diamonds above an overlapping M.

7. Mazda

Mazda is an automotive brand that has been in existence since 1920 when it was known as Toyo Cork Kogyo.

It made a name for itself by making transmissions for other automakers and rebranded itself as Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) in 1984. 

Since then, Mazda has increased through internal innovation and strategic partnerships with Ford, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi Motors.

It’s a leader in alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric cars and hybrids that can run on gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG).

8. Subaru

Subaru is headquartered in Tokyo and began as an aircraft manufacturer for Japan’s Imperial Army. The first vehicle rolled off its assembly line in 1950, and Subaru now sells cars worldwide. These include North America. 

In addition, Subaru is known for its four-wheel-drive vehicles and innovative safety features. There include all-wheel drive, active torque vectoring, brake override, and Electronic Stability Control.

Also, they make all-weather products under their brand name Jurid. For example, you can install snow tires on your car without changing your regular tires.

Adding an extra set of wheels is called summer wheels or winter wheels, depending on what time of year you install them.

9. Isuzu

Though Isuzu trucks are well-known in North America, They are Japanese car brands. The company manufactures sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks for personal and commercial use. Some of its most popular models include Rodeo (pickup truck), NHR (SUV), and Axiom (sedan). 

However, there’s a good chance you’ve seen an Isuzu around town but didn’t realize it. In addition to their consumer lineup, they also make vehicles for almost every industry you can think of: agriculture, construction, etc.

They’re based in Tokyo, with manufacturing plants scattered throughout Japan. There’s even one located in Indiana!

Isuzu has been around since 1916 and has enjoyed great success in Japan. While it’s not as well-known outside of Japan, Isuzu is a leader in its home country for medium-duty commercial vehicles.

If you see an Isuzu truck on the road, check it out! Isuzu also makes several small cars, but they don’t get much love outside of Asia like most foreign brands.

10. Daihatsu

Hino Motors, Ltd. is a truck and bus manufacturer headquartered in Hino-shi, Tokyo, Japan. Its principal activity is manufacturing and selling commercial vehicles under the Hino brand.

Also, Hino builds buses for intercity and highway use under other brand names. Such as Honda Unica, Isuzu Faster, and Mercedes-Benz O-500.

Meanwhile, The company was established on April 12, 1907, by Kiichiro Toyoda (the grandfather of Toyota’s founder).

It began as a venture called Toyoda Automatic Loom Works devoted exclusively to producing textile looms. It diversified into automatic salmon fish catch pens and sugar machines five years later.

11. Hino Motors

Hino Motors is an automotive manufacturing company in Japan, selling primarily heavy-duty trucks and buses. It’s considered a major manufacturer of specialty vehicles for transporting people and goods on rugged terrain. Such as logging roads or beaches.

In addition, Hino Motors has been in business since 1942 and has steadily grown over time. It’s now one of the Japanese car brands leading vehicle manufacturers.

The company also does a booming trade outside its home country, exporting trucks and buses worldwide.


The Japanese car brands industry has experienced steady growth over many years. Cars are becoming more and more popular in foreign markets. Of course, there are numerous reasons for that.

A wide range of models is available from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and other carmakers. And Japan’s automakers have leveraged their reputations for quality and reliability into a growing customer base worldwide. 

Moreover, they continue to innovate with new technologies like hydrogen-powered vehicles and driverless cars. They will change our daily lives as much as any Apple or Samsung product. They don’t get much better than Japan’s auto manufacturers as car brands go!

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