Where Are Toyota 4Runners Made? (Plus 5 Interesting Facts)

Where Are Toyota 4Runners Made? (Plus 5 Interesting Facts)

Undoubtedly one of the most popular SUVs on the market today, the Toyota 4Runner is a tried and true classic. If you’re wondering where your trusty machine was manufactured, look no further.

Toyota 4Runners are manufactured in Japan, where Toyota is headquartered. Currently, the modern generation of 4Runner is assembled in the city of Tahara, Japan, whereas former models have also been partially assembled in Hamura, Japan.

All models and trims of the Toyota 4Runner are assembled in Tahara, Japan. It has been this way since October of 1983 when the 4Runner was first introduced to the market. The Toyota 4Runner is an interesting vehicle, with a rich history of providing a reliable SUV to an international audience. Read on to learn a little more about the 4Runner and its Japanese roots.

Why Japan?

Toyota Motor Corporation was originally founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spin off venture of the original Toyota Industries, which was a machine manufacturing company started by Kiichiro’s father, Sakichi Toyoda. The first vehicle they produced was the Type A engine in 1934.

Their development of motor vehicles continued, with improvements being made with each new model. After World War II, Japan and the USA formed an alliance and together they shared wisdom and techniques in automobile manufacturing with each other. By the 1960s Japan’s economy was booming, and Toyota was able to provide the world with their vehicles.

Toyota proudly upholds the standards of their proclaimed “Toyota Way”, their business philosophy promising quality and reliability as key principles. This has been proven true by their impressive track record for the reliability and safety of their vehicles. Japanese companies are known for their attention to detail and accountability, Toyota seems to hold these beliefs as well. 

Enter The 4Runner

Japan, 1981. Economies were booming, the clothing was wild, and the music even wilder. New hobbies were being formed. The world needed a versatile new way to go where they wanted to go and do the things they wanted to do, uninhibited. They needed a vehicle offering them the freedom to traverse any terrain, with space to store any belongings, and seating to fit anyone they like.

Toyota provided this versatility in their first ever prototype of a converted truck, the Toyota Trekker. Although this vehicle was only really a market test, they saw that the interest was there and proceeded to succeed the Trekker in 1983 with the first ever 4Runner (or as it was called in japan, the Hilux Surf).

5 Toyota 4Runner Interesting Facts

They are made with the Kaizen Philosophy

In Japan, there exists a philosophy taught to all young children from an early age to instill in them a dedication to their work. It is common in Japanese schools and homes to be raised with accountability for one’s actions. This leads to highly efficient work with an emphasis on high-quality results without compromise or shortcuts.

The 4Runner is solid in over 10 countries

Not only do the US and Japan get to enjoy owning a Toyota 4Runner, but over ten additional countries do as well. These vehicles are a popular option in many South American countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, and Peru. They are also available in Canada and the Bahamas.

The 4Runner is one of the Top 5 longest-lasting vehicles

Rated number five on the list of longest lasting cars with 4.6% of 4Runners on the road today having 200,000 miles or more. Two of Toyota’s other SUVs hold the first and second spot, the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Toyota Sequoia, respectively.

They started as pickup trucks

In the same vein as the original Ford Bronco and the Chevrolet K5 Blazer, the Toyota 4Runner was initially constructed as a modified pick up truck. They were essentially the same frame but with the wall behind the back row of seating removed, among other modifications. They also featured a removal fiberglass top similar to some pickup trucks.

The name 4Runner was invented by a British copywriter

When Toyota was preparing to unveil the newest additions to their vehicle lineup, a British advertising agency called Saatchi & Saatchi were involved with a contest to invent names for the upcoming automobiles. A copywriter named Robert Nathan coined the term 4Runner as a play on the phrase “forerunner” and the fact that this was Toyota’s first 4×4 offering.


Toyota 4Runners are a classic at this point in time. Having been made primarily in Japan for nearly 40 years at the time of writing this article, they have shown that their value stands. Using their “Toyota Way” philosophy based on the ancient Japanese belief of Kaizen, Toyota has provided countries all over the world with the carefully designed, long-lasting 4Runner. Originally starting as a modified pickup truck, the 4Runner has grown over the years and may continue to adapt for many more years to come.

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