Japan car of the year

The annual Car of the Year Japan award, also known as Japan Car of the Year (or JCOTY), is given to newly released or redesigned vehicles released to the Japanese car buying market from November 1 of the previous year to October 31 of the current year, and each award spans two calendar years. The award has been presented since 1980. The nominees are announced in November and the recipient of the award is announced in December each year.

The Volvo XC40 is the third non Japanese car to win this award. The first non Japanese car to win was the Volkswagen Golf in 2014, and the second was the Volvo XC60 in 2018. The best car from the United States was the Jeep Cherokee, eliminated in the final round 2014 (it placed 8th). The supervisory board is made up primarily of senior Japanese automotive journalists, who select both Japanese models and non-Japanese models as well.

The award is not associated with the more recent Automotive Researchers’ & Journalists’ Conference (RJC) RJC Car of the Year Award, which has been issued since 1992. “Japan Car of the Year” was established in 1980 with the aim of promoting the development of motorization in Japan and making consumers aware of the latest models and the latest technology.

Also, if the “Japanese Car of the Year”, which is the representative car of the year, is a Japanese manufacturer’s car, the “Import Car of the Year” will be the car that received the most votes from a foreign manufacturer’s car. Given. Four more category awards: ‘Design Car of the Year’, ‘Technology Car of the Year’, ‘Performance Car of the Year’ and ‘K CAR of the Year’ ” is provided.

Award winner by year

YearWinnerSpecial Award
2022-2023Nissan Sakura / Mitsubishi eK-X EV
2021-2022Nissan Note
2020-2021Subaru Legacy
2019-2020Toyota RAV4Nissan Skyline/Jeep Wrangler/Nissan Dayz/Mitsubishi eK
2018-2019Volvo XC40Honda Clarity/BMW X2/Daihatsu Mira Tocot/Toyota Gazoo Racing/Honda N-Van
2017-2018Volvo XC60Toyota Prius PHV/Lexus LC/Honda N-Box/Takuma Sato
2016-2017Subaru ImprezaNissan Serena/BMW M2/Daihatsu Move Canbus/Honda NSX
2015-2016Mazda RoadsterTesla Model S/Suzuki Alto/Yanase/Toyota Mirai
2014-2015Mazda DemioBMW i3/Honda N-WGN
2013-2014Volkswagen GolfMitsubishi Outlander PHEV/Mazda Atenza/Suzuki Spacia/Mazda Flair Wagon/Daihatsu Move
2012-2013Mazda CX-5Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ
2011-2012Nissan LeafMazda Demio
2010-2011Honda CR-ZPeugeot RCZ
2009-2010Toyota PriusMitsubishi i-MiEV/Nissan Fairlady Z/Subaru Legacy
2008-2009Toyota iQNissan GTR/Subaru Exiga/Honda Freed
2007-2008Honda FitMitsubishi Lancer Evolution X/Volkswagen Golf/Daihatsu Mira
2006-2007Lexus LS460Audi TT/Mitsubishi I/Honda Stream
2005-2006Mazda MX-5Suzuki Swift/Honda Civic
2004-2005Honda LegendBMW 1/Mazda Verisa/Honda Legend
2003-2004Subaru LegacyMazda RX-8
2002-2003Honda AccordNissan Fairlady Z
2001-2002Honda FitToyota Estima
2000-2001Honda Civic/Honda StreamSubaru Impreza
1999-2000Toyota Vitz/Platz/Fun CargoHonda S2000
1998-1999Toyota AltezzaHonda Z
1997-1998Toyota PriusIsuzu VehiCROSS
1996-1997Mitsubishi GalantMazda Demio
1995-1996Honda CivicNissan Terrano
1994-1995Mitsubishi FTOHonda Odyssey
1993-1994Honda AccordToyota Supra
1992-1993Nissan MarchIsuzu Bighorn
1991-1992Honda CivicMitsubishi Pajero
1990-1991Mitsubishi DiamanteToyota Estima
1989-1990Toyota Celsior
1988-1989Nissan Silvia
1987-1988Mitsubishi Galant
1986-1987Nissan Pulsar
1985-1986Honda Accord
1984-1985Toyota MR2
1983-1984Honda Civic
1982-1983Mazda Capella
1981-1982Toyota Soarer
1980-1981Mazda Familia

Japan Import Car of the Year

In this category only non-Japanese cars imported in Japan are nominated and best non-Japanese car is selected by the jury.

2022-2023Hyundai Ioniq 5
2021-2022Volkswagen Golf
2020-2021Peugeot 208/e-208
2019-2020BMW 3 Series
2018-2019Volvo XC40
2017-2018Volvo XC60
2016-2017Audi A4 B9
2015-2016BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
2014-2015Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2013-2014Volkswagen Golf
2012-2013BMW 3 Series
2011-2012Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2010-2011Volkswagen Polo
2009-2010Volkswagen Golf
2008-2009Citroen C5
2007-2008Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2006-2007Citroen C6
2005-2006BMW 3 Series
2004-2005Volkswagen Golf
2003-2004Jaguar XJ
2002-2003BMW 7 Series
2001-2002Alfa Romeo 147
2000-2001Mercedes-Benz C-Class
1999-2000Rover 75
1998-1999Mercedes-Benz A-Class
1997-1998Renault M?gane Sc?nic
1996-1997Mercedes-Benz SLK
1995-1996MG F
1994-1995Mercedes-Benz C200

Most award winner by maker

Below is the ranking list of most winning automobile manufacturing companies.

Total WinsManufacturer
11 timesHonda
8 timesToyota
6 timesMazda
4 timesMitsubishi
4 timesNissan
2 timesSubaru
2 timesVolvo
1 timeLexus
1 timesVolkswagen


Toyota Rav4, Subaru Impreza, Mazda Roadster, Mazda Demio, Mazda CX5, Nissan Leaf, Honda CR-Z, Toyota Prius, Toyota iQ, Honda Fit, Lexus LS460, Mazda MX5, Honda Legend, Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Honda Stream, Toyota Vitz, Toyota Platz, Toyota Funcargo, Toyota Altezza, Mitsubishi Galant, Mitsubishi FTO, Nissan March, Mitsubishi Diamante, Nissan Silvia, Nissan Pulsar, Toyota MR2, Mazda Capella, Toyota Soarer, Mazda Familia, BMW Japan, Mercede-Benz Japan, Audi Japan, Nissan Dayz, Mitsubishi EK, Honda Clarity, Daihatsu Mira Tocot, Honda N-Van, Toyota Prius PHV, Lexus LC, Honda N-Box, Nissan Serena, Daihatsu Move Canbus, Honda NSX, Suzuki Alto, Toyota Mirai, Honda N-WGN, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mazda Atenza, Suzuki Spacia, Mazda Flair Wagon, Daihatsu Move, Toyota GT86, Subaru BRZ, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Fairlady Z, Nissan GTR, Subaru Exiga, Honda Freed, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, Daihatsu Mira, Mitsubishi I, Suzuki Swift, Mazda Verisa, Mazda RX-8, Toyota Estima, Honda S2000, Honda Z, Isuzu VehiCROSS, Nissan Terrano, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Supra, Isuzu Bighorn, Mitsubishi Pajero.