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  • Toyota no longer sells the Hilux/Tacoma pickup in Japan; it has a small cult following among customizers but the commercial fleet buyers who actually buy trucks new prefer cheaper, nimbler 0.6-liter keitorakku (micro trucks) — the Tacoma's engine being literally ten times bigger. Pretty much, Japanese Domestic Market hates pickup trucks. Japanese road conditions — short distances and tight curves — favor shorter wheelbase cab over engine designs, and Japanese people prefer to use minivans as family vehicles.
    • This preference against big-name pickup trucks was made painfully apparent to Japanese Transformers fans during the production of the franchise's Binaltech line; Takara refused to front the money to allow their American counterpart Hasbro make a Dodge Ram figure for the line unless they made it into a truly iconic and favorable character, fearing it wouldn't sell otherwise. Hasbro eventually gave in, and Binaltech Convoy (Optimus Prime) was created.
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    • The Tacoma is quite popular among truck owners in Washington State, as there is a city named Tacoma. The city itself? Not so popular.
    • The Hilux remains an iconic and popular vehicle in South Africa amongst suburban families, rugged farmer types and weekend adventurers. A new TV ad campaign featuring a talking boxer dog with a disturbing mouth full of human teeth has driven the Hilux into modern cult status too.
    • Hilux are ubiquitous in Thailand where new Hiluxes are made. This is due to extremely-high taxes on passenger cars there.
    • Hilux has a bit of a Memetic reputation from the Top Gear (UK) episode where they demonstrated that the car is pretty much indestructable. This has actually been incorporated into Toyota's advertising.
      • During the Christmas Special of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson is actually worried about completing the trip when he sees the remains of a dead Hilux on the side of the road. Dropping a building on it? Works perfectly fine. Driving it in Useful Notes/Namibia? Torn to pieces by the terrain.
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    • The ability of Toyota's pickups to be reliable, rugged and perfectly happy with machine guns bolted onto the back led to a war being named after them.
  • The FJ Cruiser, another vehicle made by Toyota, while made in Japan and developed for the North American market, is much more popular overseas than in the USA and Canada, where it is viewed as a mediocre SUV. It still has a reputable fanbase among SUV buyers in its native Japan.
  • The Mexican market absolutely loves durable and reliable cars, bonus points if they're cheap and efficient, to the point that many cars will continue production decades after a model has been discontinued in the rest of the world.
    • During the early 60's until mid 90's, the most popular car in Mexico was the Volkswagen Beetle (nicknamed there as "Vocho"), due to the fact it was cheaper than the imported American cars available at that time (the fact that the car was actually made in Mexico at that time, making the acquisition of spares helped too) and compact enough to fit anywhere. Its popularity ended with the mid-90's economic crisis, the lack of replacement components, the arrival of better alternatives (as explained later), and the halt on the production of these cars (which ocurred around 2003). In spite of that it is very common to find these cars in big cities such as Mexico City or Monterrey, specially as taxi cabs until 2012, a date set by the Mexico City government as a deadline to get off the streets all of these iconic cabs.
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    • Part of the downfall of the Volkswagen Beetle was due to another German car — the mid-90's Opel Corsa, sold in Mexico as the Chevrolet Chevy. Having the extreme durability and low price and maintenance it took to be the first serious competition against the Volkswagen Beetle while simultaneously being much more luxurious, the Chevy in Mexico was an instant success, quickly outselling the Volkswagen Beetle and leading the sales charts for so long that when the original Opel Corsa was facelifted in 2000, its release in Mexico was delayed for 4 years while Chevrolet designed an actual Chevrolet Chevy that was sold exclusively in Mexico and Colombia. Only until then was the new generation Corsa introduced in Mexico, this time with the original Corsa nameplate and billed as a more luxurious alternative to the Chevy, up until 2012, when both models were replaced by the Chevrolet Spark and Sonic.
    • Nissan also scored this in Mexico with two models: the Hardbody Truck, released in 1986, pulled in the rest of the world around 1997 but pulled in Mexico up until 2008; and the Sunny B13 (Tsuru), sold in Japan from 1990 to 1994 but sold in Mexico from 1993 to 2016. The latter has to thank its ridiculously durable engine that can last 700,000 km — a round trip between the Earth and the Moon — without even opening the engine block for major repairs; eventually, by 2016 it became apparent that many lives could have been saved if the Sunny B13 had nowadays ubiquous safety devices such as traction control, ABS brakes, power steering and airbags, and as a result the Sunny B13 was finally dropped and basically replaced with the Nissan Versa.
    • Suzuki still rings up decent sales in Mexico well after the closure of its USA branch thanks to its offering of small cars disliked in the United States but well received in Mexico.
    • The Toyota Corolla in Mexico is still young, introduced sometime around 2005, but it's starting to carve a name for itself on account of its legendary ruggedness and reliability despite its unassuming looks. Ask any American what they think about the Toyota Corolla, and they'll describe it as bland, dull, boring, an appliance, and the car equivalent of watching paint dry. Ask a Mexican, and they will praise the Corolla's reliability, and will probably start telling you about that old Corolla that still runs good as new.
    • However, as much as the Mexican market favors extremely durable cars, people there also have a soft spot for hulking SUV/pick-up juggernaughts. This has its origin in Mexico's agriculture and mining operations usually taking place in a notoriously mountainous landscape, which means the people who manage these activities must use all-terrain vehicles capable of hauling small, valuable cargos such as power generators, bulk insecticide or mining machinery. However, some models of that kind were widely sold for different reasons — the Ford Excursion, which in USA was an incredibly titanic monstrosity of a SUV aimed at insecure people and discontinued almost as fast as it was introduced, was still sold in Mexico because it turned out to be an excellent narco attack vehicle with room for 10 goons armed to the teeth, and the same goes for the Ford F-150, which was until recently a favorite of Mexican police departments thanks to its fleet model being capable of carrying a fully armed police squad.
    • The only weird exception to the rule is the Cutlass Ciera. A car that was well known around Mexico as being a particular nasty gas guzzler, for reasons no one can explain, it was so popular it wasn't all that rare seeing the car in Mexican roads well into the 2000s, 5 years after it had been discontinued.
  • Similarly to the above, in Brazil, VW Beetles (nicknamed "Fusca") are still massively popular. Their production was discontinued in 1986, but after many popular praise and the president's vote, it went back to the factory lines in 1993 for more 3 years. But even today it still has a massive fanbase, partly due to being very affordable, having easy-to-find/cheap spare parts and being generally "cute and classy" looking. There are many fan-clubs around the country where proud owners exhibit their (custom or classic) Fuscas.
  • Thanks to the American auto industry's inability to live down its '70s Dork Age, Japanese cars, especially compact cars, have this status in America, to the point where many of the major Japanese automakers have built factories in the US to accommodate demand (and get around tariffs). While the Detroit Big Four were struggling to make small cars after a lifetime of making only huge, luxurious land boats, Honda and Toyota were coming from a good five-ten years of making the Civic and Corolla, and when their actually reliable cars hit the market against a cesspool of poor-quality American subcompacts, their success was instant. For decades, Japanese cars have been seen by Americans as the benchmark of quality — it's only been in the last few years that the (perceived) gap in quality between Detroit and Japanese automakers has closed. With trucks, on the other hand, American brands like the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 have a much stronger reputation than their Japanese counterparts.
    • At the exact same time, Americans Hate Tingle is also in play. Despite their success, Japanese cars have a very sizable group of detractors in America, composed mainly of those who feel that they are destroying the American economy, and that their reputation for quality is exaggerated. Back in the '70s and '80s, driving an "import" anywhere in or around Michigan (especially Detroit), Ohio, or Indiana may as well have been an invitation to get your headlights smashed out, to the point where the term "Japan-bashing" entered political debates. Needless to say, this crowd cheered when Toyota got hit with one of the largest automotive recalls in history.
      • This is ironic once you learn that Toyota and Honda sedans top the list of "most-American-made cars"; Detroit's Big Three do a lot of their auto assemblage in Canada and Mexico nowadays (the latter for the cheap unskilled labor and the former for the highly-educated workforce plus national healthcare means they aren't saddled with massive legacy costs like in the US). There's a reason so many people in the "Rust Belt" opposed NAFTA.
    • To wit: Elsewhere in the world, Mercedes-Benz is considered the pinnacle of car making. In the US, Lexus — Toyota's luxury marque — was thought to be better (for the price) than Mercedes.
  • While we're on American automobiles, let us not forget this: China. Loves. Buick.
    • The Buick Century and Regal, models loathed by Americans, are selling extremely well in China, surpassing all Japanese marques.note  While the Regal was discontinued in North America during most of the 2000s, it continued to be manufactured in China and remained a bestselling model for years. The 5th-gen Regal that was reintroduced to North America in the 2011 model year was first introduced in China two years prior. No wonder GM ditched Pontiac in favour of Buick during restructuring, this despite the fact that its continued presence robs Cadillac of volume in the "near-luxury" bracket and constrains Chevrolet from competing directly with the Ford Titanium-trim models.
    • The third generation GM minivans got such a poor reception at home that, after just four model years, the company dropped out of the minivan market completely to concentrate on crossovers. However, the GL8, a China-exclusive van based on the same platform, is Buick's biggest seller.
    • Like the case with the Regal, Buick Envision is more a car GM developed entirely for the Chinese market before being imported into the US. The aforementioned Regal, at the very least, is a rebadged Opel.
  • In The '70s, Europeans had a craving on AMC Pacer despite their negative stereotypes on American cars. A silly French advertisement comparing AMC Pacer to an attractive woman's buttocks attracted French buyers successfully somewhat, and remained a Cult Classic there, although not as too much as its European rivals. British people, on the other hand, hated it for mechanical reasons.
  • The Nissan Skyline GT-R (before the R35 GT-R in 2007) was never intended for sale outside Japan. Yet in the '90s it had such a following in the UK that the R32, R33, and R34 models had official limited export sales to the UK. Top Gear (UK)'s Jeremy Clarkson himself praised these cars as well (the R34 was listed as #8 in his Top 100 cars video).
    • Quite a few GT-Rs made it to the United States despite it being nearly impossible to make one street legal. It was that popular for racing.
    • Skylines are incredibly popular in Australia, mainly due to their success in the Australian Touring Car Championship in the 1980s and early 90s. The R31 in particular, while not well known elsewhere since it never received a GT-R, was produced locally and received a 3 litre engine known for being easily turbocharged. They are now cheap and popular as entry level drift and drag racing cars.
  • Volkswagen Group brands from VW and Skoda to Audi and Bentley are popular enough in Romania to outsell any other foreign brand by an order of magnitude. It's a matter of clever marketing, by providing a sizable network of dealers, cheap maintenance, affordable parts, frugal Diesel engines, and plentiful opportunities for tuning and modding. (Romania does have a car manufacturer — Dacia — but most of its sales are abroad and its cars are sold in the Americas under the Renault badge).
  • In Finland, the Mitsubishi Galant has a cult status there, despite being unpopular in much of the rest of the world. However, it was dropped in 2003, and you can't get the new one there — but people still grey import them. It gained some notoriety in 1995 after a murder suspect escaped around Helsinki in one, causing a temporary drop in popularity, but it returned a few years later after the incident.
  • Russia has a special attitude towards foreign cars ever since the Soviet Union. However, two examples are especially notable. The BMW E38 (in black only!) gained a cult status among wannabe gangsters in the early 2000s after a popular action film (called Bimmer, fittingly enough) featured it as the Cool Car. Earlier in The '90s, the Mercedes-Benz W140 was a symbol of wealth for the common people and an inseparable attribute of a "new Russian", the folklore archetype of a vaguely Mafiya-esque, Nouveau Riche Idiot with No Day Job.
    • Japan has a special craving for the non-AMG (or pre-AMG, before Mercedes-Benz took over AMG) high-performance Mercedes-Benz models where foreigners consider it a normal Benz. 190E Evolution and 500E deserve this.
  • There are more American cars in Sweden than anywhere else outside North America. They are a mainstay of the still-vibrant Swedish greaser ("raggare") subculture, where a lovingly-maintained '50s "Yankee car" is a must.
  • Subarus.
    • Within the United States, the New England region, especially the state of Vermont, is almost stereotypically associated with Subarus, due mainly to the fact that they're some of the least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicles that one can find without purchasing a big truck. Winter weather in New England can get nasty, but at the same time, the region is very urbanized and hilly with lots of winding, narrow roads in cities, towns, and countryside alike, making big trucks impractical and unpopular. (Even businesses and contractors prefer to use vans like the Ford Transit rather than pickups.) Subarus are also popular throughout the rest of the Northeast, as well as the Pacific Northwest and Colorado, for many of the same reasons (bad winter weather + urban environments = demand for small AWD cars). In fact, unlike other Japanese automakers whose first toeholds in the American market were on the West Coast, Subaru of America's headquarters has always been in either Pennsylvania (originally) or New Jersey (currently).
    • This article from Jalopnik, describing Volkswagen's woes in the American market in the last few years (before the TDI emissions scandal broke, mind you), used Subaru's sales dominance over VW to drive its point home. Every single mention of Subaru consists of stereotypes about the people who buy their cars.
    "Subaru has only three major product lines: you have the Impreza line, which includes the XV Crosstrek, which is only purchased by people in Colorado after they've smoked a bowl. You have the Legacy line, which includes the Outback, which people in Oregon think is an SUV. And you have the Forester, which is a legitimate compact crossover that can be enjoyed without marijuana or Oregon residency. ... And as we look back on 2014, we'll remember this as the year that Volkswagen ceded its plan for global domination to a bunch of people from Vermont who wear flip-flops in the snow.''"
    • They're also very popular among LGBT drivers, especially lesbians, almost to the point of stereotype. Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, for instance, while covering the reaction to Russia's anti-gay laws in the run-up to the Olympic Games, featured Kate McKinnon as Billie Jean King promising to "drive my Subaru Outback into Red Square, doing doughnuts and blasting Melissa Etheridge." As explained here, in The '90s Subaru's market research noticed that, for whatever reason, lesbians were buying their cars in disproportionate numbers. Rather than get embarrassed, Subaru saw a largely untapped demographic and actively courted the LGBT market from there on out. They run ads in gay and lesbian media with taglines like "It's Not a Choice, It's the Way We're Built", sponsor a "Rainbow Card" (a loyalty credit card that funds donations to gay rights causes), and hired Czech tennis star (and open lesbian) Martina Navratilova as their spokesperson. The fact that some of their strongest US markets — the aforementioned Northeast and Pacific Northwest — are also among the most socially liberal and gay-friendly in the country, to the point of giving Subarus something of a hippie-mobile reputation in the US, also feeds into the image of Subaru as a "lesbian car". Even the Impreza WRX STI, a car built for the World Rally Championship and marketed to performance enthusiasts, is no exception.
    • Subarus, especially Imprezas, are ubiquitous in Singapore, too. There are also a few R1 and R2 kei cars.
      • Heck, Subaru has even somewhat sponsored, and give cars to the Singapore Police Force. You can easily find an Impreza police car in this urban island. It's just there are no WRX STi police cars yet.
  • Before Subaru, it was Volvo and Saab that were seen as the unofficial Foreign Cars of the East Coast. It helps that the cars were designed in and for Scandinavia, a region with a rough winter climate and mountainous terrain not unlike that of the northeastern USnote . Even after Volvo moved upmarket during the 2000s and ceded the lower rungs of the market to Subaru, they remained popular among wealthy northeasterners who didn't want to look ostentatious in a Mercedes or a BMW; somebody writing a Yankee preppy character and did their research will likely show them driving a Volvo. Saab, meanwhile, is dearly missed among that same group of people. (Short version: GM bought the brand and mismanaged it into the ground. Appropriately enough given the above, at the time Saab went out of business they and Subaru were working on a joint crossover SUV project, which ultimately came to market as the Subaru Tribeca, only feeding the image of Subaru as Saab's Spiritual Successor.)
  • In the United States the Ford brand doesn't have nearly the fame (or infamy) as bigger American players like GMC or Chrysler. They are strong in Texas (where they have been the leaders for a long time, at least on the truck side) and do hold onto a niche market of making iconic pickup trucks that range from exceedingly practical workhorses, to luxury models that people only buy for the pickup look, to astoundingly Awesome, but Impractical titanic sized monsters. They have for more brand recondition through the highly successful model T and model A and their mentions in the history textbooks than they do for their modern lineup. Outside of the US however the are still an extremely popular brand for their practicality. The fact they are the oldest successful car company and invented so many industry standards really generates interest in their cars overseas. After all they have been mass producing cars for over a century, a practice they invented. Their advertising outside the US plays more like an add for some fancy European liquor than a car commercial, and use the same logic that since they have had much more time to practice and refine their craft they must be better.
    • The fact that they, unlike most other American car manufactures, manufacture special versions of their lineup to conform with foreign auto standards and expectations helps things tremendously. For example, since Europeans tend to hate sedans, their cars sold as sedans in the U.S. have a different more streamlined rear in Europe. This reduces the length of the car by around 30 to 50 cm and greatly increases the vertical space and overall volume of the trunk. The shortening effect may not sound like a lot to Americans but to Europeans the ease to storing cars in smaller spaces is a huge factor in what models they pick and the reduced length makes them superior in this regard to hatchbacks.
  • Chryslers, likewise, have a substantial fandom among African Americans, especially the full-size 300 sedan, which was notably designed by a black engineer. Chrysler heavily runs ads on BET and in black magazines like Ebony and Jet, often focusing on the car's Detroit heritage (the Motor City having long also been famous as a major center of black culture); given that black people buy the 300 at five times the normal rate, it makes sense that they'd market in that direction. According to one analyst, this is due to the aspirational nature of many middle-class African Americans, with the 300 being seen as a powerful, classy, luxurious, yet still attainable status symbol.
  • The AC/Shelby Cobra is a rather interesting case. Back in early 1960s, the Cobras, like its predecessors, were built and developed in Britain. However, under agreement with the American tuner Carroll Shelby, AC Cars was able to obtain engines from Ford, which wanted a car to beat Chevrolet Corvette. AC exported the chassis to USA where final assembly was made. As such, while the Cobra was pretty popular in UK, it sells like a hot cake in USA where some of them were used for privateer racing, which led to many continuations made there. AC acknowledged this and made a Spiritual Successor called MK VI, sold in various European countries.
  • While Japan is an automotive superpower, Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi do most of their business outside the country. Most Japanese people in urban areas don't bother owning cars, due to the expense of gas and parking along with the country's highly-developed rail network making driving impractical for all but the rich, taxi drivers or people in rural areas. Most of the cars sold there are small kei cars (like Subaru R1 and R2 mentioned above) that can negotiate Japan's narrow streets more easily than full-sized cars. Outside Japan, while kei cars aren't common elsewhere, they had a good small presence in Singapore, as mentioned above. One can see a Suzuki Every, Mitsubishi i, or (if you're lucky) a Daihatsu Copen driving on the Singaporean motorways, though the roads in Singapore are not as narrow as they are in Japan, for the most part.
    • However, kei cars have become passe in Singapore for now, as with most other countries outside Japan.
  • Despite never being officially sold in the United Kingdom, the Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, a luxury version of the Ford Fusion/Mondeo sedan, is quite popular there. Not many are found on British roads, aside from some American and Canadian expats, but it is well-liked with a small cult following.
  • The VW Phaeton was not exactly a success and when the Diesel scandal necessitated some restructuring and cost cuts within the VW company the new model that should have entered production some time 2016 was quietly shelved. It turned out that most people who wanted a VW wanted a reliable solid car and no "luxuries" and those that wanted a luxurious car would rather chose Audi, Porsche or a non VW-owned brand. The Phaeton did however enjoy quite some success in China. Apparently the subdued luxury VW was aiming for hit a nerve there.
  • The Hummer was generally seen as Awesome, but Impractical at best in the United States. The country that loved it, however? Mongolia. Hummers gained popularity among Mongolia's upper class due to their big, strong aesthetics and ability to handle the country's rough roads. If you visit Ulaanbaatar, expect to see multiple Hummers every day. (This may explain why a Chinese company attempted and failed to buy Hummer durign GM's restructuring.)
  • Mazda may be a small player on a global scale, but they punch above their weight in Australia, consistently placing as the second best selling car brand, second only to Toyota.
  • The Pontiac Trans Sport and its sister models, the Chevy Lumina APV and Oldsmobile Silhouette, were widely hated in America due to their avant-garde styling which caused them to gain the unflattering nickname of "Dustbusters"; by 1996 GM replaced the Dustbusters with more conventional minivans (the Lumina APV was replaced by the Venture; the Trans Sport was renamed the Montana after a popular appearance package; the Silhouette name was the only one left from the original lineup). In Europe, however, said styling was much better appreciated due to its similarity to that of the well-regarded Renault Espace, which made the Lumina APV and Trans Sport especially popular in France.


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