Why Can’t I Buy a Toyota Hilux in America?

The Toyota Hilux is celebrated for its sturdiness, dependability, and off-road prowess. However, despite its global success, you might ask, “Why can’t I buy a Toyota Hilux in America?” This question has puzzled many automotive enthusiasts and potential buyers for years.

Buckle up as we explore the reasons behind the absence of this popular pickup truck from American shores.

Why Can't I Buy a Toyota Hilux in America
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About the Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux is a popular pickup truck known for its durability, reliability, and off-road capabilities. Introduced in 1968, the Toyota Hilux has sold over 18 million units worldwide.

The first-generation Toyota Hilux was launched in March 1968 as a two-wheel-drive light-duty truck with a simple yet functional design. Over time, various improvements were made to enhance its features and capabilities while maintaining its core values of toughness and dependability.

Today, the Hilux is available in multiple configurations such as single cab, extra cab, or double cab options with both petrol and diesel engines.

In addition to being highly regarded by consumers worldwide for their practicality and versatility on different terrains like deserts or mountainsides, these trucks have also become synonymous with endurance racing events like the Dakar Rally, where they’ve consistently performed well against other top competitors from foreign automakers.

Is the Toyota Hilux Banned in the US?

The Toyota Hilux is not technically banned in the United States but has been conspicuously absent from the American market for several years. There are several reasons why this popular and sought-after vehicle has disappeared from the American market, including taxes and market preferences.

Has Toyota Ever Sold the Hilux in America?

Yes, Toyota has sold the Hilux in America. The Toyota Hilux first debuted in the United States in 1968 and was marketed as a compact pickup truck. It gained popularity for its reliability, durability, and off-road capabilities. However, it was eventually replaced by the Toyota Tacoma in 1995.

So, Why Can’t You Buy It in the US?

There are several reasons why you can’t buy a Toyota Hilux in the United States.

Federal Regulations and Standards

The Toyota Hilux does not meet certain U.S. federal regulations and safety standards that apply to all vehicles sold in America. Foreign automakers must guarantee that their vehicles adhere to the government’s regulations before they can be legally marketed in America.

The Chicken Tax

This infamous tariff was imposed in 1964 as part of a trade war between the United States and Europe. It sets a hefty 25% tax on imported light trucks, which includes pickups like the Toyota Hilux. As a result, many foreign automakers have chosen to refrain from exporting light trucks to America due to the high costs associated with this tax.

American Market Preferences

While there is certainly demand for compact pickups like the Toyota Hilux among some American consumers, larger trucks tend to dominate sales figures stateside. Automakers like Ford and Chevrolet have successfully sold full-size pickups like F-150s or Silverados over smaller models.

Tacoma Takes Precedence

In response to market preferences and regulatory requirements, Toyota introduced its mid-size pickup, the Tacoma, instead of importing the Hilux. The Toyota Tacoma, which has been designed specifically for North American customers, is more suitable for local tastes while still offering similar capabilities as its global counterpart, the Hilux.

What Is the Chicken Tax, and Why Does It Affect the Hilux?

The Chicken Tax is a 25% tariff the United States imposes on imported light trucks. It was initially implemented in 1964 as a response to European tariffs on American chicken exports. The tax aimed to protect domestic automakers from foreign competition and has since been a significant barrier for foreign automakers, including Toyota.

In the case of the Toyota Hilux, this hefty tax makes importing and selling them in America cost-prohibitive. As a result, Toyota chose not to offer its popular pickup truck model in the US market due to these financial constraints.

Toyota Hilux
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How To Get a Toyota Hilux in the US

Some options are available if you’re determined to own a Toyota Hilux despite its unavailability in the United States.

The most straightforward way is to import one from another country, which includes contacting an experienced customs broker specializing in automobiles and ensuring all EPA emissions standards are met.

Another method involves importing a light truck like the Toyota Hilux as parts rather than complete units, which may allow you to bypass certain tariffs. This option requires you to work with a specialized importer who can disassemble the vehicle and import it as parts. Once in the US, you would need to reassemble and modify it to comply with all applicable regulations before registering it for use on public roads.

Will the Toyota Hilux Come to America?

The possibility of the Toyota Hilux making its way to American shores is a topic that has been debated for years. Rumors and conjecture have been rampant, yet Toyota has not made any official declarations or formulated plans regarding the Hilux coming stateside.

Recent years have seen foreign automakers such as Ford and Nissan entering the US market with their midsize pickup trucks, suggesting that Toyota may be able to follow suit by introducing the Hilux. This could pave the way for Toyota to reconsider introducing the Hilux in America.

Toyota Hilux Alternatives in the US

Don’t despair if you can’t get your hands on a Toyota Hilux; several alternatives offer similar features and performance.

Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is often considered the closest alternative to the Hilux for American buyers. As a mid-size pickup truck from the same manufacturer, it shares many similarities with its foreign counterpart. The Tacoma offers impressive off-road capabilities, durability, and reliability, making it popular among truck enthusiasts.

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger, another mid-size pickup truck option, has been making waves since its reintroduction into the US market after an eight-year hiatus. It has a powerful turbocharged engine, boasts excellent towing capacity, and advanced technology features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.

3. Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

The GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado twin trucks provide another great alternative to consider when looking for something similar to a Toyota Hilux in America. These trucks offer multiple powertrain options, including diesel engines for those who prioritize fuel efficiency or require additional torque for heavy-duty tasks.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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