Since the 1960s, the Japanese automotive industry has consistently maintained as one of the top three global automotive manufacturers. The industry is mainly driven by innovation and investment in modern technology. Over the past decades, the Japanese automotive industry has recorded accelerated growth, dominating domestic use and global exports. According to Statista Research, 8.33 million passenger cars and almost a million commercial vehicles were produced in 2019. Although the worldwide pandemic suppressed the 2020 global market for automotive, Japanese car brands maintained their market dominance. The following are the top Japanese car brands that are innovating and leading in the worldwide automotive industry.

Toyota

Owned by Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Toyota is one of the bestselling car brands worldwide. Founded in 1973, Toyota innovates and produces new models that have a huge market domestically and abroad. There are five brands under the Toyota Motor Corporations, which are Toyota, Lexus, Ranz, Daihatsu, and Hino.

The Toyota brand is the most successful subsidiary of TMC, with more than 40 production models. Popular models such as Prius, Sienta, and Aqua are among the best-selling cars, championing the Toyota brand’s dominance in the global automotive market. In 2020, Toyota sold close to a million vehicles worldwide, exceeding the number of sales made by Honda and Suzuki combined.

Toyota is currently increasing its production of hybrid and electric cars, making it one of the most significant worldwide producers of electric vehicles.

Honda

Honda was founded in 1948 and is owned by the Honda Motor Company. Over the years, the brand has registered accelerated growth due to the innovative models produced. In 2001, Honda became the second-largest automotive company in Japan, having a significant market share in the domestic market. Moreover, it has a substantial global market share and is the sixth-largest automotive manufacturer in the world.

Popular Honda models include Accord, Civic, CR-V, Insight, and Odyssey. Honda continues to capture new customers in the automotive market by constantly innovating its models. Moreover, the brand has begun producing electric cars to ensure they remain competitive.

Nissan

Nissan is owned by the Nissan Motor Company Ltd, founded in 1933. Other brands under the company include Infiniti and Datsun. Over the past couple of years, Nissan has experienced favorable growth in terms of sales. In 2017, the brand recorded record-breaking car sales of 5.77 million units. Moreover, the brand has constantly increased its market share domestically and worldwide.

Nissan’s increase in sales has been attributed to the dedicated innovation and technology by the company. The brand newly released a new model known as Nissan Pathfinder, which is expected to accelerate the brand’s overall car sales.

Suzuki

Suzuki was founded in 1909 and is owned by the Suzuki Motor Corporation. The brand specializes in producing small automobiles, motorcycles, and various small combustion-powered engine products. The company attracts new customers by producing a range of cars that are affordable to many individuals.

By 2019, Suzuki had sold over 3.3 million units worldwide. The launch of Suzuki Wagon R has made the brand among top automobile producers domestically and globally. Due to continued innovation and growth, Suzuki is projected to register sales worth US$ 26,265 million. Currently, the brand has 35 production facilities in 21 countries and 133 distributors in 192 countries.

Lexus

Lexus is a luxury car brand under the Toyota Motor Corporation. The brand has rapidly increased its market share and is currently marketed in more than 70 countries worldwide. It has maintained its position as the biggest maker of premium cars in Japan and is among the top Japanese brands globally.

Lexus is quickly becoming a formidable competitor to the world’s bestselling luxury brands such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz due to their constant innovation. The brand is expected to make more sales as they aim to launch their first electrified car.

Daihatsu

Daihatsu is one of the oldest Japanese automakers, surviving competition from other automakers in the region. With a significant increase in the number of sales annually, Daihatsu is one of the bestselling Japanese brands worldwide. The brand is famous for producing off-road and smaller vehicles with popular models such as Hijet, Tanto, and Mira.

Mazda

In 2011, Mazda became the fifteenth largest automotive maker globally in terms of production. It is also among the most prominent automotive in Japan in terms of market share and number of units sold annually. The bestselling brands of Mazda include MX5 Miata, Mazda3, and Mazda CX 3.

Mazda has consistently registered an increased number of global sales due to its lower consumption of fuel. The brand also continues to improve its properties such as safety systems, driver attention monitoring systems, advanced dashboard tools, sound insulation, and driver assistance technology.

Subaru

Subaru is the twenty-second largest automobile producers worldwide. Since its inception in 1953, the automaker has registered accelerated growth in market share and units sold. Subaru models such as Outback and Crosstrek have facilitated the brand to register groundbreaking records in sales. The launching of new models is expected to increase the volume of sales and market dominance.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi brand is owned by the Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, a Japanese multinational automotive maker. As of 2017, the brand remained the eighth largest Japanese automotive maker, having a substantial global market share. Popular Mitsubishi brands include Mitsubishi Lancer Sedan, Mitsubishi ASX, Outlander, Diamante, and Eclipse. Although Mitsubishi registered depressed sales in 2020, it still has an established place as a global automotive producer.

Isuzu

Isuzu is one of the largest Japanese automotive producers specializing in heavy trucks, commercial vehicles, and diesel engine products. In 2005, Isuzu Motors became the largest producer of heavy trucks worldwide. The brand has maintained its position in the industry by recording increased sales annually.

Japan is set to continue dominating the automotive industry due to its investment in R&D automotive technology, performance engineering, fuel-efficiency, and environmentally friendly engines. These Japanese automotive makers are expected to maintain their market positions in the near future.