Japanese automobile industry

Japan’s automotive sector is one of the world’s most impressive and largest sectors. Japan is in the top three countries where most cars were produced since the sixties, ahead of Germany. The automotive industry in Japan developed rapidly from the seventies to the nineties (when it was oriented both at domestic use and export to the whole world), and in the eighties and nineties it overtook the USA as a production leader, producing 13 million cars a year. significant export. After the mass launch of China in 2000 and production fluctuations in the US, Japan is currently the third largest automotive manufacturer in the world, with annual production of 9.9 million cars in 2012. [1] Japanese investments have helped develop the car industry in many countries in over the past few decades.

Japanese zaibatsu (business conglomerates) began to build their first cars in the mid or late 1910s. Companies took care of this by designing their own trucks (then the passenger car market in Japan was small) or cooperating with the European brand to produce and sell cars in Japan based on license. Examples are: Isuzu cooperating with Wolseley Motors (Great Britain), Nissan cooperating with the British car manufacturer Austin and Mitsubishi Model A, which was based on Fiat Tipo 3. World War II, as a result of which many Japanese manufacturers broke free from the shell and designed own vehicles.In the 1970s Japan was a pioneer in the production of robotic vehicles.

In this country there are many companies producing cars, construction vehicles, motorbikes, quads and engines. Japanese car makers include Toyota, Honda, Daihatsu, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Mitsuoka.

Cars designed in Japan have repeatedly won the European Car of the Year, International Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards. Japanese vehicles had an impact all over the world and they no longer have the stigma they had in the 1950s and 1960s when they first appeared internationally.

Early years

In 1904, Torao Yamaha produced the first bus produced in the country, powered by a steam engine. In 1907, Komanosuke Uchiyama produced Takuri, the first gasoline engine entirely made in Japan. Kunisue Automobile Works built Kunisue in 1910, and a year later produced Tokyo in cooperation with Tokyo Motor Vehicles Ltd. In 1911, Kaishinsha Motorcar Works was founded, and later began the production of a car called DAT. In 1920, Jitsuyo Jidosha Seizo Co., founded by William R. Gorham, began building Gorham and later Lili. The company merged with Kaishinsha in 1926 to form DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co. (later evolved into Nissan Motors). In the years 1924–1927 Hakuyosha Ironworks Ltd. built Otomo. Toyota, a textile manufacturer, started producing cars in 1936. However, most of the early vehicles were trucks manufactured under military subsidies. Isuzu, Yanmar and Daihatsu initially focused on developing diesel engines.

Cars built in Japan before World War II were usually based on European or American models. The 1917 Mitsubishi Model A was based on the design of the A3-3. (This model was considered the first mass-produced car in Japan, with 22 units produced.) In the 1930s, Nissan Motors cars were based on Austin 7 and Graham-Paige designs, while the Toyota AA model was based on Chrysler airflow. Ohta built cars in the 1930s based on Ford models, and Chiyoda built a 1935 Pontiac-like car, and Sumida built a LaSalle-like car. [2] [3]

Despite the Japanese government’s investment efforts, the production of cars from Japanese companies was difficult. The Great Kantō earthquake in 1923 destroyed most of Japanese infrastructure, and the production of trucks and construction equipment benefited from repair efforts. Yanase & Co., Ltd. (株式会社 ヤ ナ セ Yanase Kabushiki gaisha) was an importer of American cars to Japan and contributed to disaster recovery efforts by importing GMC trucks and construction equipment. By introducing American products, Japanese manufacturers could examine imported vehicles and develop their own products.

From 1925, until the outbreak of World War II, Ford and GM [4] had factories in Japan, where they dominated the Japanese market. The Japanese Ford Motor Company was founded in 1925, and a production plant was established in Yokohama. General Motors founded the business in Osaka in 1927. Chrysler also came to Japan and founded Kyoritsu Motors. [5] In 1925–1936 Japanese branches of the American Big Three produced a total of 208 967 vehicles, compared to 12 127 domestic manufacturers. In 1936, the Japanese government passed the Automotive Industry Act, which aimed to promote the domestic automotive industry and limit foreign competition; ironically, this stopped a breakthrough in Ford’s integrated factory in Yokohama, modeled on Dagenham in England and intended for the Asian market, which would strengthen Japan as the main exporter [sourceneeded].Instead the foreign producers were forced out of Japan by 1939. Due to the Second Sino-Japanese War, vehicle production shifted to truck production in the late 1930’s[6][7].

During World War II, Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Isuzu Motors and Kuroro manufactured trucks and motorcycles for the Imperial Japanese Army, while Kuroro launched the world’s first mass-produced four-wheel drive car in 1936, called Jiulang Type 95. After the Second World War, the production of cars was restricted. Until 1966, most products were composed of trucks (including tricycles). Since then, passenger cars have dominated the market. Japanese car design also continues to imitate or originate from European and American designs. [8] In the 1950s, exports were very limited, accounting for only 3.1% of the total passenger vehicle production in the decade. [9]

1960s to today

In the 1960s, Japanese manufacturers began to compete in the domestic market. The “CB War” between Toyota Corona and Nissan’s Bluebird is an example. Although this initially brought benefits to consumers, R & D spending surged soon after. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japanese automakers entered the “super design” and “super equipment” stages. An arms race, despite being produced in an efficient manner, has led to a decline in the competitiveness of competing products. [10]

In the 1960s, Japanese car makers introduced a host of new kei cars to the domestic market; scooters and motorcycles dominated, with sales of 1.47 million in 1960 compared to 36,000 kei cars [11]. These small cars usually had very small engines (below 360 cm3, but sometimes they were equipped with engines up to 600 cm3 for export) to keep taxes much lower than larger cars. The average Japanese could now afford a car, which significantly increased sales and accelerated the development of the automotive industry. The first new era, actually launched in 1958, was the Subaru 360. It was known as the “Lady Beetle”, comparing its significance to the Volkswagen Beetle in Germany. Other significant models are Suzuki Fronte, Mitsubishi Minica, Mazda Carol and Honda N360.

The automotive industry was very minimalistic, but definitely too small for most family cars. The most popular segment of economy cars in the sixties was the 700-800 cm3 class, which includes Toyota Publica, Mitsubishi Colt 800 and the original Mazda Familia. However, at the end of the sixties these (often two-stroke) cars were replaced with full liter cars with four-stroke engines, which was the driving force of Nissan Sunny 1966 [12]. All other manufacturers quickly followed suit, with the exception of Toyota, which equipped the Corolla with a 1.1-liter engine – an additional 100 cm3 was heavily advertised in ads from the era. These small family cars have an increasing share in the already growing market. All vehicles sold in Japan were taxed annually based on external dimensions and engine capacity. This was established by legislation adopted in 1950, which established tax ranges for two classifications; regulations on dimensions and engine capacity.The taxes were a primary consideration of which vehicles were chosen by Japanese consumers, and guided manufacturers on what type of vehicles the market would buy.

Export expansion

Passenger car exports increased almost two hundred times in the sixties compared to the previous decade and now accounted for 17.0% of total production [9]. However, this was just the beginning. The soaring domestic demand and the expansion of Japanese automotive companies to foreign markets in the seventies accelerated growth even more. The effects of the Arab oil embargo of 1973 Accelerated vehicle exports along with the Japanese Yen to US dollar, British pound and West German Deutsche Mark brands. Passenger car exports increased from 100,000 in 1965. To 1,827,000 in 1975. Car production in Japan continued to increase rapidly after the 1970s, when Mitsubishi (as Dodge vehicles) and Honda began selling their vehicles in the US. Even more brands came to America and abroad in the ’70s, and in the’ 80s Japanese manufacturers gained a significant position on the American and world market.

In the early 1970s, Japanese electronics manufacturers began manufacturing integrated circuits, microprocessors and microcontrollers for the automotive industry, including integrated circuits and microcontrollers for in-car entertainment, automatic wipers, electronic locks, dashboard and engine control. The Japanese car industry has widely adopted integrated circuits many years before the American automotive industry [13].

Japanese cars became popular among British buyers in the early 1970s, and Nissan cars with the Datsun label (the Nissan brand was not used in British registered models until 1983), which proved to be particularly popular and gained a reputation in the United Kingdom from due to their reliability and low operating costs, although rust was a serious problem. Exports were so successful that Japanese cars were recognized as a serious threat to many domestic automotive industries such as Italy, France, Great Britain and the United States. Import quotas have been imposed in several countries, limiting the sales of cars made in Japan to 3 percent of the total market in France and 1.5 percent in Italy [14]. As for the United States, the Japanese government was forced to agree on annual export quotas starting in 1981. [15] In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Japanese importers entered into gentlemen’s agreements to limit imports to avoid tightening official quotas.As a result, Japanese manufacturers have expanded local car production and established factories in North America and Europe, while also taking advantage of factories already established in third countries not covered by the quota. As a result, Daihatsu Charades made in South Africa were sold in Italy, and many Mitsubishi vehicles made in Australia entered North America and Europe. [16]

World leader

In the 1990s, Japanese manufacturers produced affordable, reliable and popular cars. In 2000, Japan became the world’s largest car producer. However, in recent years, its market share has declined slightly, especially due to the old and new competition from the South Korea, China and India. Despite this, the Japanese automobile industry continues to flourish, its market share rises again, and in the first quarter of 2008, Toyota surpassed General Motors of the United States to become the world’s largest car manufacturer. [17]Today, Japan has become the third largest car market, and it was not until China recently surpassed them that Japan became the world’s largest car producer. Despite this, auto exports are still one of the most profitable exports in the country and the cornerstone of the recovery plan for the latest economic crisis. Although Japan has been replaced by mainland China as the world’s largest automobile producer, Japanese imports continue to be widely used on the streets and highways of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macau Special Administrative Region of China.