My first automotive interaction on a recent vacation to Cambodia was with a Toyota Camry. This was the model of taxi that took us from the airport to the hotel in the capital city of Phnom Penh. I quickly discovered that this was not a fluke: the Toyota Camry is CLEARLY the most popular vehicle in the southeastern Asian country.
And it's not just the Camry. Several other Toyota models, like the Corolla compact, Prius hybrid, Hilux midsize pickup, and LandCruiser large SUV were everywhere I looked. The Camry was clearly the winner though, with many examples of the different generations popping up all over the place. In total Toyota has produced 7 generations of their midsize car, which is especially popular in Japan and North America. The 3rd to 6th generations are the ones I saw the most of in Cambodia, often doing taxi duty. In general the vehicles I encountered were in very nice shape, with many owners frequently washing and cleaning their cars due to the large amount of dust from the partially paved roads and construction everywhere.
Without trying very hard, I was able to find 4 different generations of the Camry in one spot; you can't see the oldest light blue one in the first shot, but in the second you can see that it's hiding behind a (you guessed it!) Toyota pickup!
Another surprise was the number of Lexus SUVs I saw, especially the RX300 and RX330 models. Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota, and their cars and SUVs are apparently the top choice for wealthy Cambodian families. Many were decked-out with shiny trim pieces and 'Lexus' logos on the sides and hoods, suggesting that Cambodian's are proud of their luxury cars and want to get noticed!
Need proof of just how many Camry's clog the streets? When I was downloading the pictures from my phone after the trip, I found one random shot that I must have taken by accident. Can you guess what it's of? A Toyota Camry!
Still need more proof? When we hired a driver for a day trip to visit some of Cambodia's fantastic temples around Siem Reap... his car was a Camry! And the taxi that took us back to the airport? Voilà, a Camry!!!
I don't think that it would be an exaggeration to state that over 2/3 of the vehicles I encountered were from Toyota and Lexus. While I am not a huge Toyota lover (or hater, for that matter), there is no denying the popularity of their products. It would seem that Cambodia has caught the Toyota bug! I may not have caught the Toyota bug myself, but I did catch another bug that left me with a pretty upset tummy for a few days... though I'm sure none of you want to hear about that!
Has anyone every visited a country (other than the US, Canada, or Japan) that showed such a love interest in all things Toyota?
Welcome! My name is Paul, and I am an old-fashioned, low-pressure, low-buck car fan with lots of automotive stories to tell!