Lesser Known Japanese Car Makers (P2B)

I know the picture says Part 2 A, I stole a picture from myself to save time. We really needed to get straight into the fun part of the post which is car makers in Japan you have likely never near of.


Officially founded in 1907, Daihatsu Kogyo Co. Ltd., is now a subsidiary of Toyota specializing in vehicle for export to more than 100 countries. This company LOVES their symbolism. Whether it’s their name, a combination of two hieroglyphs which together mean Osaka Production of Engine, or the illustration of their history which can be found at the website they created to celebrate their 110th birthday.

Why are they not listed as one of the oldest car companies in Japan when they were founded in 1907? The simple answer is that they got their start on a college campus as a partnership between Japanese businessmen and students and teachers of technology. The focus was on producing engines in Japan, including steam engines for use on boats–a more practical use of energy at the time.


From the Website and the Logo you might be tempted to believe that Fuso is another subsidiary of Mitsubishi, and it is, except that currently the German car Company Daimler owns about 90% of the stock. Fuso makes buses and trucks since 1920’s as well as chassis for vans and the Fuso Canter pictured here.


Mitsuoka holds the record for having the creepiest logo. Susumu Mitsuoka founded the company in 1968, originally to do repairs and pre-sale prep, but they’ve quickly evolved to one of the most original car designers on the market. As for the logo, what’s officially described as “white figure “eight” and star inside a circle is depicted against the blue background” that’s instantly recognized by drivers all over the world, looks to us like something from the “Blair Witch Project.” But you tell us, love it or hate it, leave a comment.


Founded in 2003, Scion is a wholly owned concern of Toyota, making cars only for the American market. Translated, “scion” means Heir, but the logo was designed in California to appeal to surfers and water skiers. They offer only one configuration of each car model. Their flagship models are the SCION FUSE and SCION T2B.


If Hino is a new one for you, that’s not surprising. Most American drivers are commuters or sports enthusiasts. Hino is Japans leading truck manufacturer. How they got there is interesting. In 1942 Hino Heavy Industry Co., Ltd, split from Diesel Motor Industry Co., and dropped ‘heavy’ from their name after WWII. A few years after than they began to focus on their diesel truck and bus production. Now they’re totally owned by Toyota.

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