What do the different Toyota model names mean?

September 15th, 2014 by

toyota corolla logoHave you ever wondered at the quirkiness of Toyota model names? If you are a Toyota owner or fan, you might find the origin of some of these Toyota model names enlightening or merely interesting. In any case, it makes a change from reading car model comparison articles.

Toyota Camry

The name “Camry” is derived from the Japanese word “Kanmuri,” which means “crown.” Toyota has long had a tradition of naming its primary models with some derivative or synonym of crown. First there was the Toyota Crown in 1955, then the Corona in 1957. The crown theme continued with the launch of the Toyota Tiara in 1960, the Corolla in 1966 and the Celica Camry in 1979.

Toyota Corolla

As mentioned above, Toyota chose the name “Corolla” in keeping with the “crown” associated naming tradition, corolla being the Latin term for the crowning portion of a flower. According to Toyota’s own website, the name was chosen by the product planning division in the hope that the new car would bloom in the overseas automotive market. Bloom it did and is still doing so today, now in its 11th incarnation.

Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 name obviously has little to do with crowns and indeed is a less imaginative, but somewhat more descriptive title for the “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-Wheel Drive,” which is exactly what the acronym RAV4 stands for.

Toyota Tacoma

As an all-American pickup truck, perhaps it’s fitting that the Toyota Tacoma is quite simply named after the town of Tacoma in Washington State.

Toyota Highlander

The Highlander is named after the term used for an inhabitant of the Scottish Highlands in the United Kingdom. The name was chosen by Toyota for its powerful, energetic and rugged connotations – an apt title for a large SUV with optional 4-wheel-drive. Interestingly, Toyota are not allowed to use the Highlander name in Japan because of a trademark owned by Hyundai, so there it’s called the Kluger, which strangely enough is a German, not Japanese, name and means “clever” or “wise.”

Whether you’ve been enlightened, interested or just a little amused by this collection of Toyota model names and their origins, your new knowledge may come in useful the next time you take part in a trivia quiz. If you’re more interested in the models than how they were named, you’ll find plenty of Highlander, Tacoma, RAV4, Corolla and Camry models in our inventory at Miller Toyota of Manassas, VA.