The high quality of Japanese cars has managed to place them high among top cars worldwide. The big names of Japanese car companies that have become legendary include Toyota, Honda and Mazda which have conquered drivers’ hearts at a global level. Newer, more expensive makes include the lush Lexus and elegant Infiniti. You will find the names, logos and pictures of all Japanese car brands in this list. Continue reading to see all makes categorized into most popular, other active and defunct automakers of Japan.
List & Logos Of All Japanese Car Brands
Japanese Car Makes Logo
Their innovative design, top-notch performance and the impressive market approach all stand as proof to Japan’s supremacy at an economic level. Whoever has owned a Toyota or a Honda knows that quality is under no circumstance a product of marketing, and this is why most of the JDM automakers successfully compete with European or American auto tycoons.
Most Popular Japanese Car Companies
In 2014, Toyota celebrated its 75th anniversary. In spite of not being a manufacturer as old as the traditionally European ones, Toyota remains one of the best manufacturer in the world, renown for the quality of its vehicles and the safety of the rides it provides. They manage to maintain a fresh, innovative approach on car manufacturing, as it comes with new concepts every year. The latest one regards automated safety, made possible in the US via the AHDA (Automated Highway Driving Assist).
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Prius, the Camry and the Highlander the “Top Safety Pick” prize in the US in 2014.
The Toyota equivalent of Nissan’s Infiniti, Lexus has attracted global acclaim with its latest models. Ever since the apparition of the L400 in 1989, Lexus managed to dethrone the supremacy of Honda’s Acura in the US.
Lexus 2 Door Coupe
With a design bearing almost no resemblance to the mother company, Lexus imposed itself among the top luxury car makes worldwide. In 2007, the car had already entered an extra 50 countries and continues to grow incessantly.
Initially famous for its motorcycles, this car manufacturer of Japan managed to acquire 10th place among automakers worldwide in 2011.
Suzuki Swift Hatchback
Manufactured vehicles comprise of automobiles, ATVs, outboard marine engines and, of course, motorcycles. All of them are produced in the 35 facilities located in 23 countries.
One of the older auto manufacturing companies from Japan, Mazda origins date back to the beginning of the 20th century. An important producer at a global level (3 million units of the Mazda 3 model in 2011), they manage to manufacture most of its vehicles inside its national facilities.
Between 1979 and 2010, the Japanese car manufacturer partnered with Ford, which eventually led the company to develop supplementary distinct divisions, such as the Autozam, the Efini, the Eunos and the Xedos.
The sports car category in Japan is also well represented by Mazda: the MX-5 managed to conquer the “world’s best-selling sports car” title, fully acknowledged even by TopGear.
This Japanese car maker started out as a 2-cycle motorbike engine producer, to become a universally-renowned automobile and the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.
Honda Accord Sedan
Auto vehicle production is of rather recent interest to Honda (1969), unlike the motorcycle one. With over 20 models currently in production (the most popular being the Accord and the CR-V SUV), Honda remains an important player in the auto industry, at a global level.
The separate division of the company, Acura, is of early descent. Only founded in 1986, the model still sells massively, predominantly outside Japan.
The RDX maintains itself in official and less official classifications of top luxury car makes around the world.
Mitsubishi Motors Logo
Another important auto manufacturer from Japan is Mitsubishi, a powerful part in the company of the Mitsubishi Group. The company partnered with Daimler-Chrysler in 2000, in order to overcome severe financial hurdles.
The history of this company was anything but peaceful, as several technical problems with some of the models resulted in massive financial losses. Nevertheless, newer models, such as the Lancer or the Outlander, managed to reposition the Mitsubishi name among the important auto companies.
Mitsubishi Pajero SUV
Famous Pajero is currently one of the world’s most acclaimed SUVs, fiercely competing with Toyota’s Land Cruiser and Nissan’s Patrol.
Part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, this brand is situated well among the world’s top auto manufacturers (6th place in 2012), with cars commercialized worldwide. Main market is in in China and Russia, due to mergers with the Dongfeng Motor Corporation and Russian Technologies. Recently, it has revised most of it’s models and styled all of them in a very modern and appealing way.
This automaker from Japan managed to maintain itself amongst the innovative manufacturers, manifesting interest for electric vehicles and for luxury car models as well.
Nissan Leaf Logo
Only sold in 35 countries at the moment, this compact electric hatchback attracted worldwide attention after its launch in 2010.
It is, for the moment, the best sold all-electric car (110 000 items sold until 2014), which is an achievement worthy of mention.
Luxurious Infiniti is a luxury division of Nissan which adds to its popularity. A separate division of Nissan, Infiniti was founded in 1989 and started selling its vehicles in the US, only to expand during the next 20 years to approximately 15 countries.
Infiniti is anything but an affordable car, but it doesn’t keep drivers away from its charms. With currently 9 pricy models in production, Infiniti may even achieve the performance to outdo Lexus, its Toyota equivalent. At least, this is what Top Gear experts claim.
Other Active Auto Manufacturers from Japan
These are some other not so popular cars still manufactured in Japan today. Since Japanese cars are so well known, you might know some of these names. But they are still smaller compared to the most popular automakers above, so we have put them down here.
Previously known as Chiyoda, Isuzu is a automobile manufacturer that has been in the business of selling cars, accessories, parts, and petrol and diesel engines for 99 years. The story of Isuzu goes all the way back to 1916 when a gas company and a shipbuilding and engineering company merged to form an automobile manufacturer plant. The company specializes in manufacturing commercial vehicles, but does have a few best selling SUVs and sports cars as well.
Daihatsu Motor Corp, Ltd is the oldest automobile manufacturer in Japan. The company is popular for its large range of compact cars and off-road Japanese Cars. It was first officially known as Hatsudoki Seizo, but later in 1951 it was renamed as Daihatsu. A few years after the company was renamed, Daihatsu signed an agreement with the Toyota Motor Corporation, which now owns 51% of the company’s shares. Daihatsu, for many years, hasn’t released any new vehicle. However, there have been rumors that the company might get back into the game in the near future!
- Years: 2002 – Present
- Headquarters: Torrance, California, US
- Founder/Parent Company: Toyota Motor Corporation
- Website: http://www.scion.com
Scion is one of the most popular auto manufacturers that generally works under Toyota for producing vehicles for the North American market. The brand’s main focus is appealing to Generation Y consumers and had been quite popular in its early stages. However, the company now seems to be struggling to keep its sales high, so it’s not going through a good phase for now. Nevertheless, with its new vehicle soon-to-be released this year, who knows what might happen?
- Years: 1953 – Present
- Headquarters: Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan
- Founder/Parent Company: Kenji Kita, Chikuhei Nakajima
- Website: http://www.subaru-global.com/
Subaru is the automobile manufacturing division of the popular transportation company Fuji Heavy Industries. The company is most famous for introducing the boxer engine layout and symmetrical all-wheel drive technology. Apart from this, Subaru is known mainly for its production of rally cars and even offers turbocharged versions of their popular passenger cars, including the Legacy 2.5 GT and the Impreza.
- Years: 1968 – Present
- Headquarters: 508-3, Kakeomachi, Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture, Japan
- Founder/Parent Company: Akio Mitsuoka
- Website: http://www.mitsuoka-motor.com/
Mitsuoka Motors is a small automobile manufacturer that is located in Toyama City, Japan. The company is popular for producing cars with design cues from British vehicles of the 1950s and 1960s. Apart from sedans, the company also manufactures commercial vehicles, including coaches and buses and even sports cars. Mitsuoka Motors is also the primary distributor of the most popular roadster in Japan, the retro-classic TD2000.
Non-Active Car Makes List From Japan
These are the defunct Japanese auto manufacturers that are no longer in existence. They are non operative today, but some of these made a big contribution towards the auto industry in Japan.
- Years: 1922 – 1957
- Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
- Founder/Parent Company: Hiro Ōta
- Website: Not Available
Ohta Jidosha was one of the most popular and largest Japanese car companies back in the 1930s. The company itself was founded in 1922 and was officially known as Kosoku Kilan Kogyo Co. until it was renamed in 1935 when it manufactured the OHTA Model. The company continued selling and manufacturing cars till 1957, where it was ordered to cease production of vehicles, due to reasons unknown.
Prince Motor Company
Prince Motor Company
- Years: 1947 – 1966
- Headquarters: Suginami, Tokyo, Japan
- Founder/Parent Company: Not Available
- Website: Not Available
The Prince Motor Company was formed as the result of a merger between two aircraft companies, namely Tachikawa and Nakajima Aircraft Company. After the merging of these two organizations, the company became an automobile manufacturer and introduced many beautiful coupes, sedans, trucks, and wagons. Later, in 1966, the company merged with Nissan. Therefore, the company’s name doesn’t hold value any more but Nissan of course does!
- Years: 1915 – 1922
- Headquarters: Suginami, Tokyo, Japan
- Founder/Parent Company: William R. Gorham
- Website: Not Available
Gorham Motors was another auto manufacturer that merged with Nissan. The company had introduced only one vehicle in its existence. Otherwise, the company was a complete fail and couldn’t handle the pressures of mass production.
Let us know what you think of this list of all Japanese automobile manufacturers, in the comments section below. Feel free to check out the list of all car brands A-Z.