There are many things in this world that are made through different ways. A Filipino spaghetti will not taste the same as an Italian spaghetti and a pancake will never taste like a crepe despite the fact that they are made with the same main ingredients. This notion applies to many crafts. Among them is the creation of automobiles and Japan’s way of making such things is a notable and dependable one.
The History of Japanese Cars in Japan
Japan is a country that is blessed with skillful craftsmen. This can be seen with the number of engine manufacturing companies that can be located all over Japan. To fully understand how Japan’s car and engine manufacturing got to the point that it is in presently, you must look back to the point in time when these engine manufacturing companies were just starting off.
Looking back in history, you will find that the very first company established in this particular business is the Daihatsu. When Daihatsu was established back in 1907, it was still known as a different name. This name was the Hatsudoki Seizo Co., Ltd. It wasn’t until the year of 1951 that they changed the company’s name to Daihatsu. It didn’t start off as a car manufacturing company either. It started with its focus on producing three-wheeler trucks as well as steam engines for the Japanese National Railways, which included all rail cars for passenger transportation. In the year of 1967, Toyota Motor Corporation started working with Daihatsu until practically buying them out in 1998 by controlling 51.2% of the company’s stock.
In 1914, Nissan was established and this was followed by companies like Mitsubishi, which was initially a shipping firm, branching into the automobile business by releasing a car model they named “Model A”. Isuzu followed this trend by releasing their first car model a year after Mitsubishi did. In 1924, a company named Otomo was established and it produced an interesting variety of cars in its time of service.
The company of Otomo stayed in business only until the year of 1927 but in those 3 years, they were able to produce models based on experimental cars from 1921 called Ales cars. This allowed them to manufacture air-cooled 944 cc four-cylinder light cars that could have been considered a van of its time. Otomo also created a water-cooled 24 HP model in the year of 1926. The company had a hard time competing with others like Ford building their Model T in Yokohama and Chevrolet building their Capitols in Osaka. This eventually forced them to integrate with smaller Japanese automobile makers.
In the year of 1931, Mazda was born and back then, it was known as Mazda-Go by the Toyo Kogyo Corp. the 1930’s was also the time when Ohta started automobile producing. This brand of cars was once the largest Japanese automotive manufacturing company. It was established in the year of 1922 but they did not start getting into the car business until 1934. Ohta eventually became part of the Nissan group when Kurogane, which was the company that acquired Ohta, joined the corporate structure.
In the years that followed Ohta’s involvement with producing automobiles, Toyota was able to launch their first prototype car called “Model A1” and the brand of Honda was established. The brand of Prince and Hino Motors were also established throughout the years of 1952 and 1953 but these two companies would eventually be absorbed into the bigger brands like Nissan and Toyota, respectively.
The early 1950’s was a great time for the car business because multiple brands released models one after the other. This progression led to the decade of 1960 which was when Toyota released one of their best-selling cars of all called the Toyota Corolla. Since automobiles were trending more and more, Japan founded the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) which was an association that regulated the car models that were being produced and sold in Japan. An example of how they regulated such things is their imposition of speed limiters for JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars.
Japan continued to develop and progress their auto manufacturing businesses and by the time the 1980’s came, Japan was formally recognized as the number 1 auto manufacturing country in the world, beating the United States. The 1980’s was also the time when Honda released the first Japanese car built in the US and this was the Honda Accord. From 1986 to 1989, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan released their luxury brand cars which were namely Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti, respectively.
Japan lost the title of being the top auto manufacturing country in the world in the year of 1994 but this did not rattle them. They continued to develop and work on their product and by 2006, Japan was able to regain this title once again. This title was solidified in 2008 when Toyota surpassed General Motors and became the world’s largest car manufacturer. Japan lost the title of being the top auto manufacturer in 2009, being ousted by China but considering the history of Japan, they will always be contenders in taking the top spot once again in the coming years.
Well Known Japanese Car Brands and the Names of Their Signature Cars
As you might have noticed, there are a lot of automobile manufacturing companies that were established and founded in Japan. Despite this long list of companies, there are certain companies that were able to stand out above the rest. These brands are the companies of Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota.
Honda or Honda Motor Co. is a Japanese public multinational conglomerate corporation that is known for their manufacturing skills with aircraft, motorcycles, power equipment, and automobiles. It has a running record for being the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world and this company also happens to be the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines.
Honda is a great competitor in this business and it should in 2001 when they were acknowledged as the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer. In a study done in 2015, Honda ranked 8th for being the world’s largest automobile manufacturer coming in after companies like Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, and FIAT. As mentioned above, a notable car model released by Honda was the Honda Accord which was the first Japanese car to be built in the US.
Mazda was formerly known as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. and it was hardly into auto manufacturing at all when it started. It was more involved with producing weapons for the Japanese military during the Second World War. Eventually, they changed their name to Mazda which is quite interesting because all automobiles this company has made since it was established has already had the name “Mazda”. They might have been late in realizing just how catchy the name was and so they changed it as they moved their focus in creating autos.
Mazda has created many great cars but one accolade it has over all the other companies is that it is the only company that emphasized the development of the Wankel Rotary engine. The development of this technology made their move into America a successful one because it paved the way for Mazda to create the Mazda Rotary Pickup. Until this day, Mazda is the only company to produce a Wankel-powered pickup truck. Sadly, the oil crisis of 1970 changed how the market viewed cars like these and since then, people have sought out better fuel efficient auto designs.
The company of Mitsubishi has long been in business and they did not get into the automobile game until they made their Mitsubishi Heavy Industries that included the sixth-largest Japan-cased car manufacturer, the Mitsubishi Motors. Mitsubishi Motors did not only make autos but also trucks, buses, and heavy construction equipment. This was more evident in its earlier years because, back then, the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation was a part of Mitsubishi Motors.
They got into the automobile business due to the success they noticed from their release of the first Galant in 1969. Since then, they have produced a number of excellent cars that are all branded with their signature logo of three red diamonds. Perfect examples of great cars that Mitsubishi produced are the likes of the Pajero and the Delica Space Gear mini-van that destroyed conventional wisdom by becoming very popular cars, even in Japan.
Nissan is another famous brand in the automobile scene that was founded in Japan. It might be considered the 5th or the 6th largest automaker in the world but its recent advancements in the electric vehicle manufacturing department have really given them a new look and destination. Nowadays, being economical and energy efficient is given great value and while Nissan as produced great cars like their skyline series, their release of the Nissan Leaf in the recent years was seen as a very innovative move, despite the fact that they are only considered to be the 5th or 6th great automakers in Japan.
Their Nissan Leaf was so successful and the numbers proved it. It is the top-selling vehicle that is an all-electric car and it is also the world’s top-selling electric car that is capable of running on the highway. They have sold over 240,000 models since 2016 and they are still developing new technologies to enhance the battery performance of the car to make it go further and charge faster.
Subaru and Suzuki have produced quality cars too and their brands have really made a name in the automobile industry but if you are looking for the juggernauts or the best of the best, you might want to look past Subaru and Suzuki and go straight to the Toyota Motor Corporation. This is a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer that has been in business for 79 years now and as seen in the timeline of automobiles in Japan, it has gone a very long way from the time it was established.
The only thing that hindered the progress of Toyota was the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which made it fall to 3rd place behind General Motors and Volkswagen for the largest automotive manufacturer in the world. Aside from this incident, Toyota has never gone south. They have always progressed into better things and now they are even branching into artificial intelligence and robotics research to further enhance the technology they install in their products.
There are many notable cars the Toyota has made throughout its existence which makes it hard to choose one that really made the brand known. If you look solely at the sales numbers though, the car that practically made Toyota would definitely be their Toyota Corolla model that was their best-selling car in 1997. Until this day, you will see Toyota Corollas on the road running perfectly and this just goes to show you how great of a craftsman Toyota Motors makes their autos.
Where You Can Find Japanese Cars for Sale in Japan
If you are interested in buying a new car, a used car, or even a vintage Japanese car, there are a lot of places you can look. Of course, there are the car garages that restore such cars back to great condition. There are also those who collect such cars. And then comes the option brought about by the development of technology and the internet which are the websites that make searching for all these things so simple.
Going to an actual establishment that has cars you can test drive and prices you can bargain will always be a viable option, especially if you want to get the car for a great deal but the prices found on these websites that sell these cars are also quite fair. Considering that the prices don’t differ too much and that the great quality of what you are buying can be assured, websites are the more attractive choice for finding these Japanese cars that are for sale because it saves you, the buyer, valuable time and effort because with just one search and one click of the mouse, what you desire can be yours for a fair price.
Japanese cars have been proven by time and it has shown that the quality these cars possess can go toe-to-toe with the best in the world. These are world-class cars that should make Asia proud because of how it can beat and compete with the global brands like Ford and Volkswagen. These types of cars are also known to last very long so you are sure to get your money’s worth by getting Japanese cars like those mentioned above.