Toyota's Hilux truck has returned to Japan after 13 years. This time, it's made in Thailand, a hub for Japanese and Ford brand pickups (though European Hilux supplies come from South Africa). reported Toyota's Thai operations started HiLux shipments to Japan as it passed the 3m exports milestone.

The automaker'sInternational Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) project designated Thai factories and parts producers as the main manufacturing and export hubs to 122 countries since 2004 and the country is Toyota's global manufacturing base for one tonne pickups, multipurpose vehicles, engines and automotive parts.

At first, the pickup was produced at Toyota's Samrong plant before expanding to the Toyota Banpho Plant. The two plants have a combined capacity of 450,000 units, WardsAuto said.

Toyota Thailand president Michinobu Sugata said in a statement. "We are happy to see [Hilux] gained the overwhelming welcome back from the Toyota dealers and the customers in Japan after 13 years of its absence."

Toyota Japan managing officer Hiroki Nakajima told WardsAuto customers in Japan had been waiting for the arrival of the HiLux.

"We are confident that Hilux will be a roaring success in Japan," he says. "We have received an overwhelming response from customers, which is a fantastic sign of great things to come. This also means the sales target of HiLux has already gone beyond expectations."