Total: Production for cars increased nearly 16 fold in the decade. Put another way, the 1960 figure was only 6% of the 1969 one. That was staggering expansion. Having the factory capacity to deliver that increase is amazing too.
Toyota: From 1960 it was the second biggest car maker in Japan but took the lead in 1963. It has remained there since. The successful Corolla was released at the end of 1966.
Nissan: It started the decade at the top but was soon overtaken. The Datsun Sunny (exported as the 1000 model) came out also in 1966. That year it acquired the Prince Motor Company, gaining models such as the Gloria and Skyline.
|The N360 was the predecessor of the Civic|
Honda: It started out making mainly sports cars but the tiny N360 model introduced in 1967 got production numbers up. It was soon the third largest car maker in Japan.
Mazda: In the early 1960's, they made the R360 kei car, a small Carol and the larger 800/1000 (Familia) model that all seemed reasonably popular. In 1966 the attractive Luce 1500 designed by Giugiaro of Italy was released.
The rest: None of the others grew like the top four and soon a gap had become apparent between them.
Data source: JAMA.
Summary: It's amazing to westerners how the brands have survived, but it is no accident. According to Wiki, Japan has a system named keiretsu* which has kept these brands running through difficult times and created stability in the local car industry. The Japanese government has also at times got one car maker to help another if it is deemed necessary. It is one of the few places where the government and industry work together in a successful way.
* Where "member companies own small portions of the shares in each other's companies, centered on a core bank; this system helps insulate each company from stock market fluctuations and takeover attempts, thus enabling long-term planning in innovative projects. It is a key element of the automotive industry in Japan". (source here).