Toyota has ended 51 years of Mark II, Mark X production

On December 23, Toyota held a farewell ceremony for the beloved Mark II and Mark X sedan. The final example, a white Mark X 250G, rolled off the line at Toyota’s second-oldest plant, the Motomachi factory in Aichi Prefecture, as workers waved goodbye. The car was immediately driven to a small sendoff where it was parked beside a first-generation Corona Mark II, the car that started it all.

The Mark II began life as an offshoot of the Corona line, with a stretched nose and bigger engine options. It allowed Toyota to offer near-Crown luxury in a middle-class sedan, and became so popular that it spawned its own chassis code and nameplate.

Actually, it spawned three nameplates in Japan and another abroad. There was the bread and butter Mark II, the sportier Chaser, and the more formal and conservative Cresta. If you bought one in the US, it was called the Cressida. It became the definitive middle-class sedan and rival Nissan attempted to go head-to-head with the Skyline, Laurel, and Cefiro, but Toyota had them beat.

At its peak, just before the bubble burst, Toyota was selling an astounding 20,000-plus units per month. At this time there were 20 Mark II variations for the Japanese market and 28 variations for overseas, a mix of body styles, engines, and transmissions. Toyota had never before offered such a large number of models simultaneously in large-scale mass production.

In 1990, the X70 generation proved so hot that it even out-sold the Corolla and reached number one in Japanese sales charts. According to a company spokesman, Toyota sold 6,518,000 Mark II (across all nameplates) and 363,500 Mark X in all, for a grand total of 6,881,500.

One factory couldn’t keep up with the demand. The Motomachi factory built about half the production run, 3,495,000 units (the rest were split between Kanto Auto Works, Higashi-Fuji, and Kyushu Miyata). On the day the final Mark X was built, Toyota held a small send-off attended by about 200 employees. However, in a rare move, Toyota opened the ceremony to non-employees. In addition to the first and final generations, 1979, 1984, and 1988 Mark IIs were on display to welcome the guests.

Plant manager Hiroyoshi Ninoyu, who joined the company in the mid-1980s, has devoted 35 years of his life to the Mark II. He addressed the attendees in Japanese. “When I joined Toyota I was training at a Corolla dealership and everyone around me was telling me to buy an AE86. I put that aside and on a sunny day I bought a fifth-generation [X70] Mark II. It had a huge presence for me and it was love at first sight. I think the styling is beautiful even now.”

Ninoyu described that at peak popularity, because Motomachi was the primary factory for the model, production went into overtime on a daily basis. He trained many line workers, watched them grow over the years, and believes everyone at Motomachi is really proud to have built the Mark II and Mark X.

Sadly, due to the popularity of vans and SUVs, sales in recent years have been a pale shadow of their former glory. In 2017, Toyota sold just 8,460 Mark X models, and 2018 was even more dismal at just 4,108.

Ninoyu confirmed the situation. “We couldn’t beat the wave of one-boxes and SUVs, but we found that there were still many enthusiasts who wanted a manual transmission, rear-wheel-drive car.” This was a reference to Gazoo Racing’s limited-production GRMN models, of which 100 were built in 2015 and 350 in 2019.

“Both sold out immediately, so I thought, ‘There’s no car that was so beloved,’ Ninoyu continued. “I’m really proud, and really happy to be able to send off the final car with you today. I’ve been supporting the Mark X and three Mark II brothers for a long time. I’d like to thank all those who have done so as well.”

It was a solemn goodbye, but Ninoyu ended on a hopeful note when asked about the future of the Motomachi factory. “Our plant has the advantage of being able to build electrified vehicles… I hope to see a car loved by all make a comeback, and will wait for the day whe we can make, for example, the ‘Mark E’!”

At the exit, attendees were gifted a pastry decorated with the words, “Thank you Mark X!” The Motomachi plant continues to build Crowns, Lexuses, and the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car. After 51 years and 11 generations, the Mark II and Mark X story has come to a close.

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17 Responses to Toyota has ended 51 years of Mark II, Mark X production

  1. Mr CHAN says:

    Then any parts can be bought in market ? Ps advise thanks

  2. Mustahsin Rashid says:

    Love to be a part of the mark family
    I Drive a GRX120 Mark X 2006

  3. Paul datche says:

    Pls tell toyota not to do this. That is the best car apart from crown, that they ever made! Tell them to make EV and Hybrid versions and continue in other markets if not japan!

  4. Ivy Mayabi Mutoka says:

    Please bless me with Toyota mark x new model
    Thank you in advance

  5. Simon says:

    What do we do with the ones we bought?

  6. Charles Musya says:

    Thank you motomachi for creating Mark II . I own a 35th anniversary Mark II produced in 2003. I am a Kenyan.

  7. Kavuma Kizza Joseph says:

    Thank you mark 11 / mark x for more than 15 years as a car dealer in Uganda I have got a lot of experience and my customers has liked the brand 100%.The comfort, stablebility rilly I have enjoyed my dealership with mark 11/ mark x .

  8. My favorite car the mark x 250G sad to see it goes was looking forward for more design its not to be will be surely miss

  9. Regards, Alfred King says:

    Hi Team,
    Mark X is really a good brand here in Africa (Kenya, Nairobi) and I had high hopes of getting a newer sporty version from you guys…the Mark X goodbye is sad!!
    All in all, you guys have done well with the production … keep it up.
    Be blessed.

  10. Shah says:

    First of all I really appreciate the hard work toyota have done for the satisfaction of thier customers.
    I have a mark x and I love it.
    Thanks alot for this amazing sedan, I hope that you have stop the production for good.
    Love you Toyota

  11. Maimbo maambo mudenda says:

    Thanks very much mark 2 and mark x. Will always cherish the good moments shared.

  12. Samuel Phiri says:

    Thank you for the opportunity of providing us with this wonderful Toyota model. The Mark 11 gx81 I owned gave me a wonderful driving experience. Thank you once again Toyota.
    Hope you will come up with more great designs.

  13. Mofya Vernon says:

    I’m hurting right now.
    So emotional

  14. MIRRIAM Shawa says:

    How I love this vehicle, unfortunately it has come to an end. How I wish I had one, or should i say wish i can afford one.

  15. Pikachu 'em out! says:

    The problem with manufacturers today is risk-avoidance. They’ve so cunningly evaluated what sells (and what doesn’t) that they eliminate the possibility of success.

    I’ve seen this car in person (and in dramatic action during a demonstration) and it’s pretty impressive. Who’s to say if it’d sell in America or not, but Toyota (with its infinite wisdom) decided not to offer it here. In an era of “global platforms” even the dummies at Ford decided to offer models like the Mustang in RHD and compliant with world regulations. I’m not sure why Toyota is above this.

    Japanese manufacturers are just waaaaay too comfortable playing follow-the-leader…except where it counts.

  16. Rayon says:

    I love my mark 11..GX90

  17. potato says:

    you guys still have the IS at least. it’s a shame Toyota tried to make it more Camry like to differentiate from IS.

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