Is Subaru JDM? Explained

JDM is an initialism that stands for “Japanese Domestic Market”. It’s used to describe cars and parts made specifically for the Japanese market, often by Japanese manufacturers.

The term has also come to describe the style and aesthetic of Japanese automotive culture: extravagant body kits, popping decals and bucket loads of street presence to match.

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

Is Subaru JDM?

Yes and no. The Subaru Corporation is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, so it is considered JDM. However, if you want a Subaru car with true JDM heritage, you’ll need to find an imported model or import one from Japan yourself.

The Subaru Corporation currently operates two main production plants for its vehicles: one in Gunma, Japan and one in Lafayette, Indiana (US). They produce and market their vehicles in multiple territories across the globe, including Europe, the UK and the US.

Subaru’s brand collaborations throughout the years have been prolific. A classic example is the Subaru BRZ – a near-carbon copy of the Toyota GT86. Subaru has also been known to partner with other notable Japanese automakers like Daihatsu and Suzuki to release vehicles.

Why should I buy a JDM Subaru?

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

Less rust. More power. Enhanced reliability. Fendor 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 JDM 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.

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

While the Subaru brand is rich in Japanese history, finding a true JDM vehicle means finding a vehicle that was sold in Japan – with the spec to match. So how can you snap up a JDM Subaru model?

Finding a JDM Subaru

You can either purchase a Subaru vehicle that has previously been imported from Japan or go through the import process yourself. Always remember to do your research so that you fully understand the costs and regulations involved in importing or owning a JDM vehicle.

If you want to import a JDM-spec Subaru, 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 and ensure that you’re set up for the optimal ownership experience.


There are so many reasons for wanting to own a JDM Subaru. Whether it’s for street cred or sentimental reasons, there has never been a better time to own a piece of JDM history.

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

We hope that this article helped you. Got a question? Let us know below!

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