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What do Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and other motoring brands do when they aren’t making cars?


Chasing Cars looks at what major automotive manufacturers do when they’re not building production vehicles 

Did you know that Lamborghini, the builder of high performance supercars, also produces farming machinery such as tractors within its side business, Lamborghini Trattori?

And that the Mitsubishi Group has interests in food catering services and banking?

You might think that brands like Toyota, Ford and Nissan have the sole job of producing cars, however, many global car manufacturers are often part of much bigger companies that invest in an array of industries. 

Honda Asimo robot in front of bridge
Honda’s Asimo robot was well ahead of its time

Let’s take a look at what some of the biggest car makers build and invest in, other than cars.

Toyota Corporation 

Toyota may be known for cars like the Corolla, Prius and Hilux, but it’s also involved in a range of other industries . 

Toyota has invested in the past into areas including robotics, agriculture biotechnology, sewing machines, technology education institutes, aerospace and luxury boats (sold in Japan only). 

2023 Toyota Hilux GR Sport sliding rear
Toyota does a lot more than just build Hiluxs!

An interesting fact is that the Toyota Corporation also cross-owns 0.25 percent of Mazda and 0.2 percent of Suzuki, along with 20 percent of Subaru.

Honda Motor Corporation 

Honda is obviously known for its motor vehicles and motorcycles, too, however it also invests heavily in robotics, jet aircraft, lawn and garden equipment and electric generators. 

Honda Asimo robot
Honda Asimo came well before the likes of Boston Dynamics

Some of the most interesting things that Honda builds are inflatable boats and the very quirky ASIMO robot which was built as part of Honda’s research and development into human-like robotics. 

Honda also builds small private aircraft, like the HondaJet. 

Mitsubishi Group

As well as building cars and heavy trucks, Mitsubishi is big in Japan’s financial industry. In fact, Mitsubishi’s banking arm, known as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, is the largest financial institution in Japan, with current assets worth around USD$3.1 trillion. 

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Aspire LT 2022 rear 3/4 far
Mitsubishi also has one of the world’s largest banks

But other than looking after your hard-earned savings, the Mitsubishi Group is also known for building air conditioning units, Nikon cameras (Nikon is part of the Mitsubishi Group), nuclear power and trucks.

Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai might be known for cars like the i30 hatch, the Tucson SUV or its performance N products, but Hyundai has interests elsewhere. 

Hyundai Boston Dynamics announcement
Hyundai now owns the Boston Dynamics robot company

Hyundai now owns the Boston Dynamics robotic company, as well as a steel manufacturing company, an engineering and construction firm, produces military equipment and owns a financial services business. 

Mercedes-Benz Group

Much like Mitsubishi, the Mercedes-Benz Group also operates its own bank, as well as providing financial services through Mercedes Mobility. 

2023 Mercedes-Benz CLA plug-in hybrid charging with white car
If you want somewhere to hold your money, the Mercedes Bank can do so!

Nissan Motor Corporation

This brand may be known for the Skyline GT-R and Patrol SUV, however it also makes forklifts, commercial equipment and, in the past, produced solid rocket motors for orbital launch vehicles headed for space. 

Subaru Corporation

Subaru Outback XT Touring 2023 front driving
Subaru has a lot of interests in the aerospace industry, as well as cars

Subaru has built some iconic cars in its time, however it has also been active in the aerospace industry. 

The Subaru brand was previously called Fuji Heavy Industries and has produced military aircraft and helicopters under licence for companies including Boeing and Lockheed Martin – major players in the aerospace business.