Toyota naming scheme

Toyota vehicles have a long and storied history with their names. Each new model played a key role, especially in the U.S market where Toyota first made its global impact. These names were all themed to represent affordable and dependable mobility, done so it could grab the attention of car buyers and offer an alternative to the domestic market vehicles.

Ever wonder what the meanings are behind Toyota’s model names? We take a look at some of the models sold in the Philippines and figure out the meanings behind the nameplates.

Toyota GT86 exterior red road test

First on the list is Toyota’s entry-level sports car, the 86. Its name comes from the car that inspired it the original – the 1980 Corolla GT-S. The ‘80s Corolla came with the chassis code AE86 which is where the modern equivalent gets its name from. The Corolla GT-S offered buyers a balanced rear-wheel-drive platform which made it a go-to vehicle for drifters. It was also popularized by the anime Initial D which stared as the hero car.

Toyota Camry sliver front road test photo

The Camry is one of the Japanese automaker’s popular nameplates. The name Camry is derived from the Japanese word “Kamuri,” which means crown. The name suits the vehicle well as it’s currently marketed as an executive sedan aimed at businessmen – a crown befitting the owner who can afford it.

Toyota Altis Hybrid variant road test

Unlike its midsize sedan brother, the Corolla has a different naming origin story. Corolla actually means the outer envelope or crowning portion of a flower. With that in mind, it’s not hard to see why people would also mistake the name to also mean crown. Unlike its upmarket brother the Camry, the Corolla is the everyman’s car but with a touch of tech and luxury. 

Wondering about the Corolla Altis? The word Altis has its origins in ancient Greek and is referred to as the sanctuary of the Gods. The addition of the world Altis to the Corolla nameplate was originally just a variant of the vehicle. It referred to the top-of-the-line variant of the eighth generation of the Japanese sedan in the late 1990s. The word Altis would then later be added to succeeding generations of the sedan locally. Other markets have dropped the Altis nameplate and stuck with Corolla instead. 

Toyota FJ cruiser blue press photo

The name for Toyota’s popular mid-size offroader the FJ Cruiser comes from the 1961 FJ 40 series Land Cruiser. Similar to that of the Land Cruiser, the FJ Cruiser is also a popular choice for off-road enthusiasts thanks to its rugged design and its extensive aftermarket support.

Land Cruiser press photo black

The Land Cruiser’s name according to Toyota actually implies the ability to go anywhere. It fits the vehicle well as it is a go-to choice for off-roaders and security firms the world over. It has seen action all over the world in multiple uses, whether it be with the security firms as a popular choice of armored car for VIPs, or with likes of the Red Cross and the United Nations –  the Land Cruiser has seen it all and then some.

Toyota Prius blue press photo

The name of the Prius actually comes from a Latin prefix which means “to go before.” This also reflects the vehicle’s history of being one of the first few hybrid vehicles to go mainstream in the automotive market. It also fits the vehicle well as every generation seeks to push hybrid technology just a little bit further.

Toyota RAV4 blue road test

The RAV4 is actually an acronym for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD. While the current generation of the vehicle looks more at home on city streets rather than on dirt roads. But it still continues the Recreational look and still retains a 4WD option in markets outside the Philippines.

Toyota supra red press photo

Toyota’s popular sports car the Supra has been in the local market for a while but in varying generations, with the latest being the A90. Its name originates from Latin prefixes. It can either mean “to surpass” or “go beyond,” which represents the sports car well. Each generation of the popular vehicle has seen significant jumps in performance. This is most evident with the introduction of the legendary 2JZ inline-six engine to the vehicle. Since then the nameplate has become a household name.

Toyota yaris yellow road test

Time to get a little bit mythical on you with the Yaris’ naming history. The word Yaris is derivative of the name Charis. Charis is a goddess in Greek mythology, who was a symbol of beauty and elegance. The “Ya” refers to the German expression of agreement. Together these represent the vehicle’s broad appeal in styling.

Toyota vios red 1.5 prime road test exterior

The origin of the name Vios is similar to that of other select models in Toyota’s lineup in the sense that it too has Latin origins. It comes from the Latin prefix Vio, which means “to move forward.” While it isn’t as mythical as the Yaris, it still makes sense for the vehicle which has been an industry segment leader thanks to its versatile platform. It has seen use both as a race car and as transportation in the form of taxi’s and through transport service networks.

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