Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda revealed a stable of his favorite cars at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon. As you’d expect, four of the six vehicles onstage at the car show were from Lexus or Toyota, but there was one vehicle that stood out by virtue of both its greatness and the notable fact that it is not made by Toyota, and, yet, occupies a place in “Morizo’s garage:” a Suzuki Jimny.

It seems the Jimny is such a wonderful machine that Akio, who’s become largely synonymous with Toyota — his family being the namesake of the auto giant, after all — chose to feature the Suzuki among his most beloved cars. The blue Jimny onstage at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Booth is Akio Toyoda’s personal model and one of his favorite vehicles, as the chairman explains in a Toyota Times video report:

Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 | Morizo’s Car Collection | Car Lovers’ Paradise | Toyota Times News

Tokyo Auto Salon attendees were confused about the Jimny’s presence at Toyota’s presentation. Some wondered if there was a GR Jimny on the way, and as much as I would love for that to happen, it’s improbable — if not impossible.

During a later interview with Toyoda, panelists asked the chairman if the Jimny was onstage because “Toyota owns Suzuki.” While that’s not entirely true, there is some accuracy to the statement since Toyota bought a minority stake of close to five percent of Suzuki in 2019, as Reuters and the Wall Street Journal report.

The working relationship between Toyota and Suzuki could’ve had something to do with how Toyoda ended up getting a Jimny at all, which is in such high demand that it’s not easy to find the off-roader at dealerships. Akio explains:

The Jimny is a popular model, and it’s difficult to find “the one” at any dealership.

I looked a lot but couldn’t find one, so I asked President Suzuki of Suzuki Motor Corporation. Is there a commercial one I could have?

I asked him if I could have just one when they change over models. Though I had to wait, I got that beautiful one. [gestures to Jimny]

He then went on to confirm that he bought the Suzuki Jimny used, which it turns out is not unusual for Toyoda. The only other non-Toyota vehicle at the Gazoo Racing booth was a Yamaha Vino, and the chairman says he bought that one used, too. He told the panelists he actually wanted a Vespa, but Vespas are expensive.

He also told a funny story about how the used Vino had its worn tires and cracked mudguard suddenly replaced when he returned to pick up the scooter after its registration at the dealer.

I encourage you to watch the whole Toyota Times video — just turn the closed captions on. In the end, it would have been pretty easy for Akio to ask for any number of Land Cruisers or Prados, but, no, Toyoda wanted a base model Jimny. And with the right number of doors, no less.

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