Part of our mission on this website (as well as our YouTube channel – check it out here if you haven’t done so already) is to educate and preserve the history of JDM legends, along with other legendary cars.
We love to answer people’s questions about Japanese classic cars, JDM, and all other types of cars.
In this article we look at the following question we have seen a few people ask?
Is Toyota a JDM? If Not, What Is It?
So, what is the truth?
The truth is that Toyota isn’t JDM.
Toyota is a primarily a Japanese car manufacturer.
However, they make both JDM and non-JDM cars.
As we covered in our guide to JDM and what it means, the term refers specifically to “Japanese Domestic Market” vehicles.
These are vehicles produced specifically for the Japanese market, and not meant to be sold outside of Japan.
Toyota has produced both JDM and non-JDM cars.
An example of a non-JDM Toyota is the Camry.
The Camry is available in many markets around the world, and was designed and built by Toyota to be sold outside of Japan.
The Land Cruiser is another example (anyone who has been to Australia or New Zealand will tell you that Land Cruisers are practically everywhere there!).
There can be some complications with regards to vehicles that have JDM-only configurations or variants (for example, imagine a Camry that was built for only the Japanese market, not for export).
However, Toyota has also manufactured (and continues to manufacture) a number of JDM only vehicles.
For example, the Toyota Crown series:
Other popular JDM Toyotas include the Chaser:
And the legendary VIP-mobile, the Toyota Century:
Conclusion – Is Toyota JDM?
The answer is “a bit of both”. Toyota is a Japanese car manufacturer that makes cars for both the international market and the Japanese domestic market (true JDM). Just being a Japanese vehicle does not make a car JDM. For a car to truly be JDM, it needs to have been intended for sale only in Japan.
Of course JDM vehicles have found their way into other countries over the years.
In New Zealand (where we are based) there is a big market for Japanese import vehicles; both “normal” cars that were available new in NZ (albeit often with some specification changes, e.g. Toyota Corollas sold new in NZ often had better safety features than Japanese imports, which are called ‘Auris’) and true JDM vehicles that were never really available outside of Japan.
For example, a quick search on Trademe – our version of eBay – yields a number of interesting JDM Toyotas for sale:
Read our guide here to what JDM means for more information on Japanese domestic market vehicles, the pros and cons of them, and how you can get your hands on one!
You might also like to read our history of the Toyota Corolla article, which contains information about one of Toyota’s most famous and long-lasting vehicles (including JDM versions).
You will also like our guide to importing a car from Japan – this will help you if you are looking to import your own JDM Toyota from Japan!