Japanese Car Names: The Sequel

It’s been over a year since my last post about Japanese car names.

I’d say it’s about time for another post!

Lately I’ve been noticing a lot of cars with Spanish-sounding names. Is this a trend in Japan, I wonder? Or a worldwide trend? It made me think. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Kia Rio, the Nissan Maxima, and the Chevy El Camino in the states. You’ll see what I found in Japan.

Another thing I wanted to mention… In Japan, they definitely market certain cars to women. See here:


But what makes a car a “feminine” car? So-called feminine colors like pink and light blue? Room for kids and shopping bags in the back? A storage box under the seat for baby/kid toys and food? The way they market this car is like… You will become a stylish super-mom if you buy it. If I was a man and saw this advertisement, I would definitely not feel like this car was being marketed to me.

I have to wonder how many guys have bought themselves a pink Honda Life Diva?


Familia (Mazda)

It is known as the Protégé elsewhere.


Alphard (Toyota)
I see this mini-van pretty much everywhere. But really. Alphard. Say it out loud.  Say it fast multiple times.


But in real life, Alphard is the brightest star in the constellation Hydra. The name Alphard is from the Arabic الفرد, “the solitary one”, there being no other bright stars near it.

ist (Toyota)
It kind of sounds like the Japanese word for “yeast”. I have driven one of these.


Vellfire (Toyota)
A sportier version of the Alphard with black interior, aimed at the younger generation!


Voxy (Toyota)

Sounds pretty cool! There is no exact V-sound in the Japanese language, so it may sound like “Boxy” at times.


Clipper (Nissan)
I imagine fans of the Los Angeles Clippers would enjoy this car.IMG_4001

Terios Kid (Daihatsu)
Whenever I see this car, I always think “Terrorist Kid” instead of “Terios”.


Tiida (Nissan)

Kind of cute. I like it.


R2 (Subaru)

This car is parked right outside my apartment building. I love seeing it! Of course the white version reminds me of R2-D2.


 Ractis (Toyota)
With Japanese pronunciation, the R-sound kind of turns into an L-sound, making it sound like Lactis.


Sambar Van (Subaru)

Sambar is the name of an Indian soup…subaru sambarvan

Carol (Mazda)

Cute name!!

mazda carol

Flair Wagon (Mazda)

This is the “Woman’s Car” I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

MAZDA Flairwagon 2012 - Present_2

Scrum (Mazda)

Sounds kind of like Scum, doesn’t it?scrum_wagon-top

Boon (Daihatsu)

Kind of odd, but okay.new_daihatsu_boon_front

Fairlady Z (Nissan)

Kind of awesome!nissanfairladyz

NBOX Plus Custom (Honda)

What a mouthful.


Vamos Hobio (Honda)

A version of the Vamos with a higher roof. Hobio. Hobio Hobio Hobio Hobio.hondavamoshobio2

Fun Cargo (Toyota)

This was known as the Yaris Verso abroad. Fun! Car! Go!


Move Latte (Daihatsu)

The car for 20-something retro, coffee lovers!


Forward (Izusu)

Izusu makes a bunch of work trucks, like the Forward, ELF and GIGA. The ELF cracks me up every time I see it.


Bonus picture! I found an Aomori license plate with my sister’s birthday on it!

photo 2


Now you probably noticed that a lot of the cars are quite boxy and not really aerodynamic. The truth is that they don’t need to be in Japan. The average speed limit on roads within towns in Japan is 40km/25mi per hour. It is maddeningly slow sometimes. And speed limits on highways are only 50-60km/31-37 mi per hour. So it’s perfectly okay if all cars in Japan are pretty much boxes on wheels! It’s the norm.

I’m going back the US next month and I will be able to drive my own car for the first time in 2 years! I imagine it will feel great, having my own wheels and freedom. I haven’t driven a car in a year, though, so I will have to get used to driving again. And there’s the added factor of remembering NOT to drive on the left-hand side of the road.

So that’s all I had to say about cars. But I have a few more things to show you…

This is my favorite tour bus in the Hirosaki area.

It says: Highway Baron S2003

Ride The Highway Baron And
Enjoy The Scenery From On High
Happiness Wrapped in a Sense
Of Superiority, Riding Around
The Country On A Dream.

photo 3


Lastly, cars in Japan aren’t the only thing to have cool/strange names. Bicycles get in on this too! Random English everywhere!

My bicycle is a Que Sera.


IMG_3997 IMG_3998




This blog post would not have been possible without the help of random English (and other languages) appearing everywhere in Japan! It certainly makes life interesting.


4 Comments to “Japanese Car Names: The Sequel”

  1. Thanks for sharing all of these! My favorite car name is still the Move by Daihatsu. :)

  2. Well here I go again-hit a wrong a key and my reply went west.There are really so my interesting things in a forgien country as you have found out. We certainly did on our travels so many years ago. I was once going to write a blog on my experiences in ladies restrooms, especially in Russia and China. There are mistakes on this but I am not going to fix them and maybe have it go west again. All for now–Love, Nana

  3. I remember that bus (in the parking lot across from the train station, no?)! The Japanese aren’t the only ones to advertise to the “feminine” side – Ford advertised the Flex as the “cool Mom car” a while back which I must admit kinda annoyed me at the time. Cool car…for anyone…(and I’ve seen it in some way cool color combos…not that I’m planning to buy one… I’m just saying…). xxx, AJ

  4. These are some of my favorite posts that you do, I swear… I just laugh and laugh.

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