Is It Illegal to Buy a Toyota Hilux in the U.S.?

Eric Gilley
· 3 min read
One of the most well-known pickup trucks worldwide is the
Hilux. Other than the truck's impressive performance on and off-road, its durability has made the Hilux an unforgettable
pickup truck
. Interestingly, even with all its popularity, spotting a Toyota Hilux in the U.S. is not easy. So, is owning such a truck in America illegal or not?
The Toyota Hilux isn’t available in the U.S.

How the Toyota Hilux is similar to the Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma is very popular
in the U.S., and the truck is similarly sized to the Hilux. Also, a recent update on the Hilux gave it a more powerful engine and new interior, and it looks more like the Tacoma.
The main differences between the Hilux and Tacoma are the overall front fascia designs, sleeker headlights on the Hilux, and sharper wheel designs and body lines.
Also, the automaker's Toyota Safety Sense suite of active-safety features is now newly standard across the board. That includes automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Even with all these similarities, the Hilux is not available in the U.S.
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Why is the Toyota Hilux not sold in the U.S.?

The reason you can’t find a Toyota Hilux in U.S. is because of something called the ‘Chicken Tax’. This tax refers to a 25% tariff that the U.S. government imposes on imported light trucks, like the Hilux, and other products such as brandy, potato starch, and dextrin. The Toyota Hilux could be sold competitively, and it would not attract Chicken Tax if it was built in the U.S.
To get around this tax, Toyota has to build a truck in the United States. Essentially, the Tacoma is Toyota’s response to the Chicken Tax.
So, Chicken Tax denies the Hilux an opportunity to compete in America's pickup truck segment because this tariff makes the vehicle overly expensive. However, if you want to import a Toyota Hilux from somewhere else in the world, you can do so. There are no laws preventing you from buying a Toyota Hilux in the U.S.
The only thing is that by doing so, you will be buying a truck that will cost more than a new Toyota Tacoma when you add all associated importation expenses, including the 25% Chicken Tax. Also, according to
, you will lose a ton of cash on your Toyota Hilux in the U.S. when you decide to sell it.

A beloved pickup truck around the world

Several things make the Toyota Hilux a popular pickup truck worldwide. The vehicle's unrivaled reputation of durability, capability, versatility, and style are some of the reasons why the Hilux is beloved around the world.
The price of the Toyota Hilux ranges from affordable to pretty expensive, and everything in between and is available in various body styles. This means there is a version of the truck for everybody.
On the other hand, if you prefer a vehicle with different powertrain options to choose from, the Toyota Hilux offers that as well. The best part is that the Hilux has a powertrain option appropriate for specific markets.
As such, all these qualities and characteristics make the Toyota Hilux appealing to a vast majority of individuals worldwide who have different tastes and preferences.
But for those of us in the U.S., sticking to a Tacoma just makes the most sense.

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