Is Lexus JDM? Explained

JDM is an initialism of Japanese Domestic Market. It’s a hugely popular term among automotive enthusiasts that refers to cars and parts that are produced, manufactured and sold in Japan.

For that reason, only cars built in Japan are considered to be true ‘JDM’. But the term has come to encompass the brands and vehicles that have Japanese heritage, too.

So is the Lexus brand actually JDM? We’ll cover a brief history of the brand, and how you can own a JDM-approved Lexus of your own.

Is Lexus JDM?

Yes and no. If you want a Lexus car that is truly JDM, you will need to find a Japanese imported model or import one from Japan yourself. However, the Lexus brand was born in Japan, so it is considered a JDM brand.

The Lexus brand is the luxury arm of Toyota, the popular Japanese automotive manufacturer. Lexus spawned at a time when both Honda and Nissan were experimenting with luxury subdivisions of their own (Acura and Infiniti, respectively).

The Lexus name was not formally used in Japan until 2006. Before that time, Toyota released luxury models under its own name. A popular example of this is the Toyota Soarer (released in Japan), and its Lexus equivalent: the SC 300/400 (sold everywhere else).

As the Lexus brand was founded in Japan, the brand is considered to be historically ‘JDM’. But Lexus also operates in many other countries, including the US and the UK. Lexus has always developed its vehicles differently to meet the rules and regulations of each individual territory.

Why should I buy a JDM Lexus?

There are a number of reasons why Japanese-made Lexus’ are so popular abroad. They tend to be in superior condition with much better specifications from the factory. They’re also more sought-after, and a big deal in pop culture.

Less rust. More power. Enhanced reliability. Fender mirrors. The list of benefits goes on and on. You’re also sure to capture the hearts of fellow enthusiasts by bringing a one-of-a-kind vehicle to your local street.

Of course, there can be downsides to purchasing a JDM import. For example, more power means more fuel consumption, which will put a squeeze on your wallet. It’s also likely that you will need to insure your imported vehicle with a specialist insurer. Make sure you do some research before pulling the trigger on a JDM Lexus.

Negatives aside, you still get all of the usual benefits associated with the Japanese automotive industry: cheap, widely-available parts and maximum reliability.

How to find a JDM Lexus

You can either purchase a Lexus that has previously been imported from Japan or go through the import process yourself. It’s a good idea to get a solid understanding of the costs and rules involved with importing and owning a JDM Lexus.

If you want to import a Japanese Lexus, you can browse popular online marketplaces (like Goo-net Exchange). These websites allow you to filter cars based on your exact requirements and specify a destination port in your country for delivery.

If you’re looking for a specialist importing experience, do a Google search for Japanese car importing companies in your area (like Japanese Classics). They will be able to assist with the entire import process, making sure that you’re set up for the optimal ownership experience.


There are so many reasons for wanting to own a Japanese-imported Lexus (or Toyota). For example, certain models of the Toyota Soarer famously make use of an active suspension set-up: one that is noticeably absent in the Lexus SC equivalent.

Whatever your reason for wanting one, know that there are plenty of options available to you if you’re willing to spend a bit of cash.

We hope that this article helped to clear up any confusion. Got a question? Let us know below!

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