Daihatsu was formed in 1951 as successor organisation to Hatsudoki, and by the 1960s had started exporting cars to Europe, although it did not enjoy any major sales success until well into the 1980s.
Since February 1992 in North America, it has been common for Toyota to distribute Daihatsu models.
- 1907 – Hatsudoki Seizo Co., Ltd. founded
- 1951 – Company renamed: Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
- 1967 – Signed an agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation
- 1988 – Daihatsu USA launched with the Charade and Rocky
- 1992 – Daihatsu USA shuts down in February
- 1999 – Toyota gains a controlling interest (51%) in Daihatsu Motor Ltd.
It was reported on 31 March 2005 that Toyota would withdraw Daihatsu from the Australian market after sales fell heavily in 2005, in spite of the overall new-car market in Australia growing 7%. Daihatsu wound up its Australian operations in March 2006 after almost 40 years in the market.
Daihatsu's operations in Chile – where Daihatsu is a well-known brand for its 1970s models such as the Charade or Cuore – were also threatened after very low sales in 2004 and 2005. However, Toyota has stated that it intends to persist in the Chile market for now.
Daihatsu has supplied cars under different badges to various different automakers in the past, and also supplies engines and transmissions to one of Malaysia's largest car makers, Perodua, which sells cars in the United Kingdom.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Daihatsu has had a market presence since 1958 when its Midget Mk.I was a popular choice among market hucksters. From 1978 until 2001, a local dealer marketed the Charmant, Rocky, Fourtrak, and then later, the Terios and Grand Move which proved to be popular sellers. The Delta commercial truck chassis remained a popular market choice from its introduction in 1985 until today. Toyota Trinidad and Tobao Ltd. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Japan) now markets Daihatsu Terios, YRV and Sirion, under stiff competition.