10 April 2009
Japan - Cars Rated
Starting with Japan, the largest car maker in the world. They have many successful car companies. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Suzuki and others are known everywhere.
2007 Production: 9.9 million cars and 11.6 m vehicles in total.
General perception: Reliability, well made, good value, average handling, fuel efficient and safe (read dull) styling.
I say: All the above is correct. Obviously most people want reliability, safety and value for money in an everyday hack. The Japanese delivered.
Prognosis: No one doubts the fine job Japanese manufacturers have done in establishing a good general perception. Dull styling and average handling has not put buyers off except in Europe. However, the value equation was based on an undervalued Yen. Now that its current rate is higher and a fairer reflection of where it should be, exports out of Japan will have to be pricier or profits will turn into loses post haste. More overseas manufacturing is the alternative or manipulation of the currency downwards. Japan’s vehicle production is staggering volume wise. Maybe that will have to change somewhat.