Those who have watched ISIS propaganda videos might have observed a curious constant: Toyota pick-ups and SUVs. And U.S. counter-terror officials are wondering why the Islamic State is driving so many Toyotas.
An inquiry led by the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department is looking into how ISIS has acquired Toyota vehicles – which seem to be mostly Toyota Hilux pickups and Toyota Land Cruisers – and why they are ending up in the group’s campaign videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya, reported ABC News. Toyota, the world’s second largest car manufacturer, is supporting the investigation.
“We briefed Treasury on Toyota’s supply chains in the Middle East and the procedures that Toyota has in place to protect supply chain integrity,” Ed Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based director of public policy and communications, told ABC.
Other vehicles by Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu are also featured in the videos, but it’s the proliferation of Toyotas that have caught the attention of authorities. “Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said Mark Wallace, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Theories on this include ISIS forcefully taking Toyotas from alleged U.S.-aided rival groups and the fact that the hardy Toyota Hilux just happens to be the truck of choice for rebels across the world. Other hypotheses include the growing sale of Toyotas in the Middle East and the subsequent availability of Toyota spare parts and “middle-men” selling these vehicles:
Incidentally, some have noted, Toyota makes an SUV for Japan and Singapore called the Isis :