Japanese Car Brands Names – List & Logos of Cars in Japan

When we talk about product enhancement, technological innovation, and safety improvement in vehicles, Japanese car companies are no doubt ruling the hearts of billions. Stealing the show with their reliable, safe, and tough cars, the Japanese automotive industry has grown into one of the most respected and popular manufacturing industries in the world. Japanese Domestic Market, also known as JDM, has also made a very large contribution to the country’s impressive reputation and led its way to become an economic superpower. JDM import cars and vehicle parts are designed to conform to Japanese regulations and to suit Japanese buyers. JDM vehicles differ greatly from the cars that Japanese automakers build for export. The high-quality vehicles by Japanese automakers have managed to find a spot in the top three countries with most cars manufactured since the 1960s.

Japan began building its first automobile in the 1910s. Most early vehicles; however, were trucks produced under military subsidy. Later on, auto companies such as Toyota and Nissan started their business, which was essentially the beginning of the Japanese automobile industry. Cars built in Japan before World War II tended to be based on European or American models. After WWII the Allied Occupation General Headquarters banned automobile production until 1950 and therefore Japanese car companies were allowed to produce only a limited number of trucks. Then, Nissan and Toyota restarted their businesses. In the 1960s, Japan surpassed Germany and got a spot in the top three countries with the most cars manufactured. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the Japanese automotive industry rapidly increased and from the 1980s to the 1990s, it overtook the U.S. After massive expansion by China in the 2000s, Japan is currently the third-largest automobile manufacturer country.

Japan is home to some of the most prominent car brands. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are not the country’s big three but also are among the top 10 largest car companies in the world, where Toyota being on the top. Japanese car brands believe in the process of continual improvement and this is the reason behind their innovative development.

Find out more about Japanese car brands and the story behind Japanese car logos, both JDM car symbols, and export car symbols:


Founded: 1937
Founder: Kiichiro Toyoda
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
Owner: Japan Trustee Services Bank, Toyota Industries, The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Nippon Life and Denso
Website: www.toyota.com
More Details: Toyota History Timeline & Logo

The largest manufacturer in the world, Toyota Motor Corporation produces around 10 million vehicles annually. This multinational automotive manufacturer produces Japanese luxury cars, Pickup trucks, Passenger cars, SUVs, and Crossovers. Apart from the basics, this Japanese car brand is the world’s market leader in sales of hybrid electric vehicles, Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. In 2017, hybrid passenger car models by Toyota and Lexus achieved the 10 million milestones of global sales. Toyota encourages the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles around the world. Currently, this Japanese car company has two divisions, namely Lexus and Toyota Racing Development (TRD). One is a Japanese luxury car division and another is the in-house tuning shop for all Toyota and Lexus cars.

This Japanese car brand was established as an independent company in 1937, before that it was a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. This Japanese auto brand started production while it was just a division and its first passenger car was introduced in 1936, the Toyota AA. By the 1960s, the United States placed a 25% tax on imported light trucks, and in response Toyota, Nissan and Honda started building their plants in the US by the 1980s. The turning point for Toyota was during the 1970s oil crisis when the US market required inexpensive economical cars to replace their bulky sedans, mainly powered by V8 engines. With oil prices going high, Toyota provided inexpensive and reliable vehicles. This Japanese car brand has the oldest long history of producing and delivering the finest quality cars.

This Japanese car logo signifies the mutually trusted relationship between the company and customers. A combination of three ovals, where the two overlapped inner ovals represent the connection between the hearts of the customers and the heart of the company; and into a large Oval that stands for world-embracing Toyota. Toyota sells vehicles under five brands, including the Toyota brand, Hino, Lexus, Ranz, and Daihatsu. Toyota Corolla, Vitz, Camry, Land Cruiser, Passo, Prius, Premio, and Auris are some of the best cars by this Japanese car brand.


Founded: 1933
Founder: Masujiro Hashimoto
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Nishi-Ku, Yokohama, Japan
Parent Company: Renault
Website: www.nissan-global.com
More Details: Nissan History Timeline & Logo

Nissan Motor Company Ltd is the eighth largest automaker in the world. This Japanese car brand produces an extensive range of cars, trucks, electric vehicles, and autonomous cars. Known for the sophisticated and super high-performance cars, Nissan focuses on designing modern innovative vehicles. Nissan sells its cars under the Nissan, Infiniti (Japanese luxury cars division), Nismo (Japanese in-house tuning, motorsports, and performance division), and Datsun (Japanese low-cost vehicles division) brand. This car brand is a part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance and the Renault–Nissan Alliance together would be the world’s fourth-largest automaker. Nissan is the leading Japanese car brand in Russia, Mexico, and China. The brand is also the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer.

Established in 1933 as a division of Datsun, Nissan built the world’s biggest car plant in Europe during the 1980s. By 2007, it was producing 400,000 vehicles per year, landing it the title of the most productive plant in Europe. In 1957, this Japanese car company entered the Middle East market and India in 2005. In 1997, the company introduced the first high-tech battery electric vehicle called as Nissan Altra EV. Earlier in 2018, Nissan stated that all the Nissan vehicles under the Infiniti brand will be hybrid or all-electric vehicles from 2021.

With the launch of Nissan Leaf (fully electric vehicle), this Japanese auto company became one of the greatest automakers in Japan history. By 2020, this auto brand has also planned to introduce completely driver-less automotive cars. Apart from this, Nissan Cima, Bluebird Sylphy, Sentra, GTR, Juke, Altima, Teana, and X-Trail Hybrid are some other well-known models.


Founded: 1948
Founder: Soichiro Honda
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Owner: Japan Trustee Services Bank, The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Mokusurei, Meiji Yasuda Life and Tokio Marine Nichido
Website: www.honda.com
More Details: Honda History Timeline & Logo

Honda is the second-largest Japanese car manufacturer and sixth largest in the world. This Japanese auto brand is synonymous with innovation and also well-known as a Japanese sports car brand. This Japanese car brand produces racing vehicles, concept vehicles, SUVs, light trucks, electric and alternative fuel vehicles. Additionally, it also produces garden equipment, marine engines, personal watercraft, and power generators. Honda became the first Japanese car brand to introduce a dedicated luxury vehicle, Acura. Aside from this, Honda is the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines and motorcycles. This Japanese car brand has 440 affiliated companies in and out of Japan.

Honda was started as Honda Technical Research Institute in 1946 and incorporated to Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in 1948. The same year, this Japanese car brand introduced their first motorcycle, D-type and the first automobile, T360 (mini pick-up truck) in 1963. The first car by Honda was the S500 sports car that went on sale in 1963. In 1986, Honda introduced a Japanese luxury vehicle marque, Acura and after that Honda grew in a short time to become one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers. Honda signed three joint ventures in China; Honda China, Dongfeng, and Guangqi Honda.

Honda D-Type

According to Honda’s official website, this Japanese car company has sold 31.04 million vehicles by March 2018, where 19.49 were motorcycles, 5.29 automobiles, and 6.26 power products. Cars by this Japanese brand have irresistible noticeable appeal and dynamic speedy performance, which can be witnessed in its famous models like the Accord, Odyssey, Fit, Vezel, CRV, and CR-Z.


Founded: 1909
Founder: Michio Suzuki
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan
Website: www.globalsuzuki.com
More Details: Suzuki History Timeline & Logo

Suzuki is a Japanese economic car brand that produces a full range of motorcycles, a range of small automobiles, four-wheel-drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and mid-sized light-weight family-friendly convenient cars for customers. Suzuki’s trademark lightweight, affordable and reliable cars have earned them a huge market share and reputation in the automobile world. This Japanese car brand has over 133 distributors in 192 countries and 35 production facilities in 23 countries where 45,000 employees work day and night to create spacious and comfortable vehicles for their customers.

Founded in 1909 for weaving looms for Japan’s giant silk industry, this Japanese car company began working on the prototype in 1937 and within two years it came up with several compact prototype cars. However, with the onset of World War II, the plans to produce vehicles were halted for a period and started again in 1952 when Suzuki introduced their first motorcycle called the Power Free. In 1955, this Japanese car brand entered into the automobile business with their first Kie Car, Suzuki Suzulight. By the 1970s, Suzuki introduced their first electric car. In 1983, this Japanese automaker introduced their most successful car, the Maruti 800 and after 10 years Wagon R was launched in markets. These two Suzuki cars changed the brand reputation completely and gained the trust of their customers.

Suzuki Suzulight 1955

Today, Suzuki is a major car brand in important markets including Japan and India. Its domestic motorcycle sales volume is the third-largest in Japan. Among all the models by this brand, Swift, Alto, Ignis, Lapin, Wagon R, and Baleno are the most popular vehicles with increased sales worldwide.


Founded: 1983
Founder: Eiji Toyoda
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Nagoya, Japan
Parent Company: Toyota
Website: www.lexus.com
More Details: Lexus History Timeline & Logo

This Japanese luxury car brand is a division of Toyota and Japan’s largest-selling make of premium cars. Lexus is known for its elite class, captivating design, sheer elegance and dynamic performance. This Japanese car brand manufactures coupe, convertible, sedan, hatchback, hybrid models and sport-utility vehicles. This Japanese automaker produces its highest-performance models under its F marque division. Lexus is marketed in more than 90 countries and in inaugurated dealerships in the JDM in 2005.

This Japanese luxury car brand originated with a flagship sedan, the Lexus LS 400 in 1989. The car launch was a shock to existing luxury brands whose sales figures dropped by a big percentage. In 1991, Lexus launches its first sports coupe and first sports utility vehicle in 1996.

In 1998, Lexus introduced the luxury crossover category with the launch of the Lexus RX 300. It became the top-selling model by the brand. In 2006, Lexus delivered the world’s first luxury hybrid and dethrone the supremacy of Honda’s Acura in the US.

Lexus RX300

Lexus vehicles are majorly produced in Japan and after the corporate reorganization from 2001 to 2005, this Japanese sports and luxury car brand began operation of its own design, engineering and manufacturing centers. The LX 570, IS 250, and CT200H are among the top-selling brand models.


Founded: 1986
Founder: Honda Motor Company
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Parent Company: Honda
Website: www.acura.com
More Details: Acura History & Logo

Acura is the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese car company Honda. It manufactures all kinds of high-speed sedans, crossovers, and sports utility vehicles. Most of the Acura vehicles are based on Honda models but feature better trimming levels, more options, and increased comfort. The company is the first Japanese automotive luxury brand and among the best-selling luxury marques in the US. Unlike globally expanding Lexus, Acura is mainly focused on the North American market, producing most of its vehicles in the US and is not officially represented in Japan.

Acura was first launched in the United States and Canada in 1986. Despite being the most successful luxury car marque, this Japanese car brand is still not introduced in JDM. This Japanese car brand launched its first two models in the 1980s, the Acura Legend and the Acura Integra. Acura is also known to be a Japanese sports car brand and in 2016, it launched the Acura NSX that was seen in The Avengers. Some of the finest models by Acura include the ILX, TLX, RLX, RDX, MDX, and the NSX.


Founded: 1920
Founder: Jujiro Matsuda
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Fuchū, Aki, Hiroshima, Japan
Owner: Japan Trustee Services Bank, The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Ford Motor Company
Website: www.mazda.com

Mazda is a Japanese sports car brand known to provide bit bolder and innovative models for instantly grabbing customer’s attention. The company was founded in 1920 and began producing auto-rickshaws and weapons for the Japanese army. Mazda introduced first in 1960, the Mazda R360 and was a success in JDM. In 1970, Mazda formally entered the American market solely for North American buyers. However, during the 1973 oil crisis, Mazda went on the brink of bankruptcy and had to concentrate on common fuel-efficient engines. This Japanese automaker suffered a huge loss in 1975 but refocused its effort to stand on its feet again.

Mazda 360

From 1979 to 2015, Mazda had a partnership with the Ford Motor Company, which eventually led the brand to develop supplementary distinct divisions, such as the Autozam, the Efini, the Eunos and the Xedos. The best models launched by the brand are the Demio, CX-3, CX-5, Premacy, Roadster and the Mazda MPV.


Founded: 1970
Founder: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Owner: Nissan and Mitsubishi
Website: www.mitsubishi-motors.com
More Details: Mitsubishi History & Logo

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is a multinational automotive manufacturer and is one of the oldest Japanese industrial giants. This Japanese auto brand is known for its off-road vehicles, such as Pajero or Lancer Evolution. During its history, this Japanese automaker had alliances with different carmakers, such as Chrysler, Volvo, Groupe PSA, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Renault. Mitsubishi has given a true definition of crossover SUV for decades and also embarked on its success for the plug-in hybrid EV System. The Lancer Evolution, RVR, Pajero and the Colt are the recently popular brand cars.

Here are some other Japanese car companies, which are still in the race and believed to give tough competition in the future:

Isuzu (Years: 1934-Present)
Website: www.isuzu.com

Subaru (Years: 1953-Present)
Website: www.subaru-global.com

Daihatsu (Years: 1907-Present)
Website: www.daihatsu.com

Infiniti (Years: 1989-Present)
Website: www.infiniti.com

Datsun (Years: 1931-Present)
Website: www.datsun.com

Nismo (Years: 1984-Present)
Website: www.nismo.co.jp

GT-R (Years: 2007-Present)
Website: www.nissanusa.com/sportscars/gt-r

Today, cars made in Japan have won the International Car of the Year, World Car of the Year, and European Car of the Year awards several times. Japanese cars have had worldwide influence, and no longer have the stigma they had in the 1950s and 1960s when they first emerged internationally.