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Why Can’t I Buy A Toyota Hilux In America? [ Reasons ]

Why Can’t I Buy A Toyota Hilux In America? [ Reasons ]

The Toyota Hilux is considered one of the most popular, versatile, durable, and strong pickup trucks worldwide. In many countries, it is the go-to pickup truck for everyone. It was made in the late 60s, and these trucks were a staple in America for about two decades. However, the country that loves trucks probably more than anywhere in the world is unable to buy the best pickup truck available. You can no longer buy a Toyota Hilux in America. Although it is not banned from being sold in the U.S., you will hardly ever find a Toyota Hilux there. So, is it illegal to buy a Toyota Hilux in America? And, if not that, why can’t you buy one? Keep reading the article further as here we will discuss briefly why you cannot buy a Toyota Hilux in America.

Why Can’t I Buy a Toyota Hilux in America?

In recent years you cannot buy a Toyota Hilux in America because of the Chicken Tax, which is a 25% tariff (tax) imposed by the government of the United States of America on imported brandy, dextrin, potato starch, and light-duty trucks like the Toyota Hilux. This is because the Hilux is not an in-house manufactured car. If Toyota built the Hilux in the States, similar to many other models of Toyota, the tariff would not have been imposed, and Toyota could sell it at a competitive price.

Let us get into details about why you cannot buy a Toyota Hilux in the U.S. You can understand why it is difficult to buy a Toyota Hilux in America by the following steps:

  • Step 1: The chicken tax makes the Toyota Hilux a ridiculously expensive truck, which cannot compete in America’s compact truck market. Even though Hilux is one of the best pickup trucks available, Americans can easily find similarly sufficient models at much lesser prices.
  • Step 2: In the ’80s, the government introduced a new law that made it harder to import new cars from abroad. Furthermore, a tax called the Chicken Tax, which was present from the 60s, added a 25% tariff to light-duty trucks like Hilux. As a foreign brand, Toyota faced many issues in getting its car in the U.S., resulting in it starting to make cars in the U.S., as that would nullify the regulations.
  • Step 3: Toyota also partnered with American automakers, like Winnebago. According to Toyota of Orlando, this step allowed Toyota to get its hands into the SUV market in America. It was during this that Toyota also created the successful 4Runner SUV. 4Runner’s success reflected Toyota that it had a shining future in America in making cars for the American citizens.
  • Step 4: Hence, as the last step to continue its reign in the U.S., it started making the greatest Hilux alternative, Tacoma in America, which is a compact pickup truck to replace the Hilux. The two models are almost identical in form and function. The major difference is that Tacoma allows Toyota to avoid the rules and regulations that are imposed on Hilux for being an out-house manufactured card, while Tacoma could easily get around those rules.

Moreover, over the years, Tacoma has adapted to the U.S’s changing security requirements and standards. On the other hand, Hilux has been away from the American market for so long that it no longer conforms to American security and vehicle safety standards. Toyota created Tacoma as an alternative to Hilux made in America that meets American safety and emissions standards.

Is Buying a Toyota Hilux Illegal in the U.S.?

It is not illegal to buy a Toyota Hilux in the U.S. There is no specific law stating that you cannot import a Hilux from abroad in the United States. However, you can’t find a Toyota Hilux in the U.S. because of something called the ‘Chicken Tax’.

Introduced around the 60s, Chicken Tax is a 25% tariff that the U.S. government imposes on imported light-duty trucks, like the Hilux, and other products such as brandy, potato starch, and dextrin. If the Toyota Hilux was built in the U.S. The truck would have been a competitive pickup truck segment, but it is not easily seen in the U.S due to its overly priced status.

To not have to pay this tax, Toyota has to build a truck inside the United States. As a result, it came out with Tacoma as a response to the Chicken Tax. The Chicken Tax denies the Hilux the chance to compete in America’s pickup truck segment as the 25% tariff makes this fine truck overly expensive. However, you are free to import a Toyota Hilux from somewhere else in the world if you wish to. No laws state that you cannot buy a Toyota Hilux in the country.

The only drawback is that when you add all the costs, including the 25% Chicken Tax, buying this truck will cost you a fortune more than a new Toyota Tacoma. Also, it is analyzed that you will run on the loss if you ever wish to sell your Hilux in the States.

Why does the Chicken Tax affect the Hilux?

The Chicken Tax adds a 25% tariff on certain imported items such as potato starch, dextrin, brandy, and light-duty trucks like Toyota Hilux, which makes it unbearably expensive to compete in the U.S. Truck segment.

The Hilux is affected by the tax for one reason only; it is a light truck built outside America. The tax wasn’t specifically created to stop the sale of the truck in America in particular; however, it is one of the more notable items on the list.

President Lyndon Johnson 1963 introduced the chicken tax in response to a similar tariff imposed by France and West Germany on chicken meat imported from the USA. It was designed to protect American producers and manufacturers from a seemingly unfair competitive market, and tensions of the Cold War-era endangered diplomatic attempts to avoid the Chicken Tax being imposed.

In the context of time, a little surprisingly, the Chicken Tax was imposed on brandy, dextrin, and potato starch which was not very noticeable, but the tariff on foreign trucks and cargo vans maintained its place to protect American automakers from foreign competitors.

Can You Import Toyota Hilux To the USA?

Yes, you can import Toyota Hilux to the U.S. There is no law stating that selling or buying a Hilux in the country is banned. The only thing is, you will be buying the truck at a very high price, much higher than the market price of similar trucks with almost the same features and availability.

However, to answer the question, you can buy a Toyota Hilux in the USA by importing it. It is completely legal.

Can I Buy a Toyota Hilux In Mexico?

No, you cannot buy a Toyota Hilux in Mexico. It is because there are no 4×4 or diesel Hilux in Mexico. The only way you can buy a 4×4 Diesel Hilux and get it into the country would be by paying cash down in Costa Rica. This would significantly modify the truck into an off-road vehicle, put it in a shipping container, and send it to Mexico.

What’s The Best Alternative to Toyota Hilux?

Toyota created the Tacoma as the best alternative to the Hilux. In the initial stages, Tacoma and Hilux were very similar vehicles in terms of their features. But with time, Tacoma has adopted more of the U.S. safety and emission standards. With time, it has become more advanced in terms of its design and interior compared to Hilux.


In conclusion, you cannot buy a Toyota Hilux in the U.S. due to the Chicken Tax. Even though it is not banned to buy a Hilux in the States, the price to import the truck will be higher than a new Toyota Tacoma. Tacoma is similar to Hilux and, in some stages, even better than the former; hence, it is clearly a better choice for the citizens of the States. However, if anyone wishes to add a Hilux to their collection, they are most welcome to go to all lengths to buy their dream car.