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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

History Of The Japanese Automobile

I never had a car while I lived in Japan, though I often wished I did - especially after I was hit twice by cars while riding my bicycle - within a few weeks of each other, within a few months of arriving in Japan.
My family has owned a Nissan Stanza, and I have owned a Madza 323 and a Toyota Camry wagon - all of which were fine dependable cars. My father has another Camry wagon, and I eventually moved on to a Mazda Tribute. So... I like Japanese cars. I've also had many fine American cars, though my recent experience with the Swedish SAAB left me less than impressed. As of 2015, I'm driving a Mazda 6 - which totally is zoom-zoom.

I like my Japanese cars.

Regardless... let's look at Japan and the automobile.  

There are a few things one needs to know about Japanese cars nowadays.... Number 1: white is the most popular color. Not only is it easier to see at night, but it also represents purity which is something all Japanese men strive for while they cheat on their wives with a mistress. Hey... ya gotta start somewhere.
Number 2: the Japanese word for car is kuruma ((車). Now... a brief history lesson in Japanese language. The car was invented ... well... depending on what one believes, in 1860 in France, but I'm betting the Japanese did not see one until much, much later.   
I could be wrong, but if the automobile is a foreign invention - IE not a Japanese one - then the word created to describe it should have been a katakana alphabet word. Not kanji,which was used for words to describe amongst other things, things that are Japanese.
Whatever.
Let's take a look at the automobile in Japan... a brief history of it just to get your going hmmm. 
In Japan, the first inventors of a Japanese automobile were guys working in bicycle repair shops or at bicycle manufacturing shops... you know... those 1,000s of little bicycle repair shops that dot every single city, town, village and hamlet of Japan.
Why not... in the USA, bicycle manufacturers the Wright brothers were trying to create an aeroplane (archaic spelling of airplane) from their bike shop.

Panhard et Levassor
First Cars in Japan:
In 1898, the Panhard et Levassor from France was the first car shipped to Japan. 

Locomobile
The first automobile dealer in Japan was the Locomobile Company of America Agency, specializing in the import and sales of America's Locomobile steam cars. In 1901, this agency set up a sales showroom in Tokyo which gave Japan its first look at the automobile... and it liked it.
 
The Locomobile had a sandwiched leaf spring-style suspension, a steel chassis, wooden body and over 300 connecting pipes making up its boiler for a two-cylinder engine that was driven by steam pressure.
1902 to 1913
Takuri
The first automobile made in Japan was done so in 1902 by 21-year-old Uchiyama Komanosuke (surname first) in Ginza, Tokyo after Yoshida Shintaro (surname first), a manager at Sorinshokai Bicycle, had brought back a gasoline engine from the United States. Uchiyama was working for the Sorinshokai dealership when he created this car, designing and manufacturing a chassis and body himself. 

Uchiyama then built the first entirely Japanese-made gas-powered car in 1907 known as the Takuri.

1904 Yamaba Omnibus
Also in 1907, Hatsudoki Seizo Co. was established (in 1951 it was renamed the Daihatsu Motor Car Co., Ltd.).  

1905 Yoshida Omnibus
Strangely enough, someone built a bus before the car. In 1904, Yamaba Torao (surname first) of Okayama-shi built the first Japanese-made bus - the Yamaba Omnibus powered by a steam engine - that could hold 10 passengers. This may have been Japan's first "car".

In 1905, the Yoshida Omnibus debuted - a gas engine vehicle. This may have indeed been Japan's first gas-powered vehicle. 

In 1911, Kaishinsha Motorcar Works (later to evolve into Nissan Motors) was established in Tokyo under the guidance of Hashimoto Masujiro (surname first).

1914 to 1917
After its experience in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the Japanese army became interested in the automobile importing in 1907 military trucks from Germany and France. In May 1911, it produced its first domestic military truck at the Osaka Artillery Factory under the orders of the Military Agency.

1919 Mitsubishi Model A
In 1914, Kaishinsha Motor Works began importing, assembling and selling British cars while also manufactured seven all-Japanese cars called the Dattogo (or DAT, for short) featuring a two-cylinder, ten horsepower engine.

In 1917, the Mitsubishi Zosen (Mitsubishi Shipbuilding) Co., Ltd. was established and over the next four years until 1921, it built the Model A, Japan's first series-production vehicle. Hand-built, the seven-seat sedan was based on the Fiat A3-3 (or Fiat Tipo 3) design... but it was more expensive than rival manufacturers and was discontinued after only 22 models were built.

1918-1929
In March 1918, the Military Vehicle Subsidy Law was enacted whereby the military granted subsidies to car manufacturers to produce automobiles to be used by civilians during peaceful times and converted to military use in times of war. This was in effect Japan's first automobile industry policy.
Wolseley A-9

In 1918, Isuzu formed two years earlier, joined with British manufacturer Wolseley Motor Company and by 1922 the first Isuzu Wolseley model A-9 car is domestically produced.

Between 1920-1925, Gorham/Lila's auto production was established, and is only important as it was many years later merged into Datsun - the company that would become Nissan.

The Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1, 1923, created an urgent need for motor vehicles to service the inhabitants of the devastated capital. As a temporary measure until Tokyo's transportation network could be fully restored, 800 Ford Model T truck chassis were immediately imported and converted to what were known as the Entaro bus that would serve the city's transport system for a long time thereafter.
Entaro Bus

In 1924, the Otomo Japanese car was built by Toyokawa Junya (surname first) until 1927 at the Hakuyosha Ironworks in Tokyo. Otomo offered an air-cooled 944 cc four-cylinder light car, available as two- or four-seat touring car saloon (sedan) or as a van. This was joined in 1926 by a water-cooled 24 hp (horsepower) model.

Both the Gorham/Lila and Otomo companies were at this time the only two Japanese car manufacturers - though Gorham was financed by US aircraft engineer William R. Gorham (hence the non-Japanese-sounding company name).

The fall-out from the Great Kanto Earthquake was that the Ford Motor Company saw Japan as a lucrative market and set up a subsidiary in 1925 called the Ford Motors Japan, and then set up a production plant was set up in Yokohama. Model T cars were produced General Motors established operations in Osaka in 1927 and began selling Japan Chevrolets, while Chrysler set up Kyoritsu Motors.

Ford and GM showed Japan the importance of mass production technology, quality control of subcontracting parts manufacturers, and how to establish a national sales network.

Between 1925 and 1936, these three US automakers Japanese subsidiaries manufactured 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic Japanese producers who built only 12,127 vehicles.

1930 to 1945
American car manufacturers had begun building cars in Japan for the Japanese market and were, by 1930, producing nearly 20,000 units per year. Japanese domestic manufacturers were producing fewer than 500 units. By 1935, industrialization was well underway in Japan with as many as 16 companies producing cars.

1931 Mazdago
In 1936, the Japanese government passed the Automobile Manufacturing Industries Act, which was designed to break the American car monopoly in Japan and promote the domestic auto industry (while of course, reducing the competition from the foreigners). Companies formed under this act included Toyota and Datsun.

It should be noted that by the time Japan became involved in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), vehicle production had shifted to trucks - for the military. 

By 1939, the foreign manufacturers had been forced out of Japan.

Ohta OD 1937
1931 saw Mazda build the Mazdago - a three-wheeled open truck that looked like a motorcycle with an open truck bed. Steered via handlebars and powered by an air-cooled one-cylinder engine/transmission combo unit, it was built by Mazda and sold by Mistusubishi. It was considered to be the first auto-rickshaw.

Toyota AA 1936
Other note-worth data includes Ohta Jidosha Seizosho Co., Ltd. of Tokyo beginning auto production in 1934 through 1957. The company was established in 1922, and produced cars from 1934 beginning with the Ohta Model OS powered by a 736 cc 4-cylinder engine. In 1957 it was acquired by the Kurogane truck company and ceased auto production.

In 1936, Toyota released its first car - the Toyota AA.

In 1937, Tokyo Gas & Electric merged its car division with Automobile Industry Co., Ltd. and Kyodo Kokusan K.K., to form Tokyo Automobile Industry Co., Ltd. By 1941, the company changed its name to Diesel Motor Industry Co., Ltd., which would eventually become Isuzu Motors Limited.
1946-1954
1946 Tama electric car.
World War II brought the requirement that Japanese zaibatsu, or industrial conglomerates, disband.

However, Fuji Precision Industries (later the Prince Motor Company) built the Tama in 1946 - an electric car! Despite its clunky look, it still looks a damn side better than most electric cars out on the road today in 2012. The car was created because after the war there was a shortage of gasoline. As such, the electric car was an important introduction. The Tama was used in Japan primarily as a taxi until 1950. It could drive for 65 kilometers on a single charge using its 65 volt motor. It used a lead-acid 40 volt battery - but a speed demon it was not, having a top speed of only 35 kilometers per hour.

1955 to 1965

The Japanese government saw the importance of restarting the domestic car market and took steps to stimulate innovation.
Prince Motor Company started up in 1952  and would become integrated into Nissan by 1966. Hino Motors began auto production in 1953 before merging with Toyota in 1967.
1963 Honda S500

Subaru released its first car, the Subaru P-1 in 1954. In 1955, Suzuki began production of the 360cc Suzlite. Mitsubishi introduced its Mitsubishi 500, a small, fuel-efficient 500cc cheaply-priced car. 1960 saw the introduction by Toyo Kogyo, who would eventually become Mazda, of a 360cc coupe. Toyota's 700cc couple was introduced in 1961. All of these cars were the result of a government program urging car makers to produce small, highly fuel-efficient vehicles at an affordable price for the domestic market.
In 1963, Honda released its first car, the Honda S500 - which looks awesome!

1965 to 1975
Rotary Engine
The Japanese Automotive Manufacturer's Association (JAMA) was established in 1967. JAMA was formed to help auto manufacturers deal with changes in Japan's economy, such as liberalized automotive imports, that resulted from Japan's entry into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Japan's auto manufacturers realized they would need more automation in automobile production and began using advanced digital manufacturing technologies and robotics in the early 1970s. Management structures were changed to match newer manufacturing technologies and techniques.

Between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, Japanese car purchasing exploded. In 1962, 14 per cent of households owned cars. By 1975 it had increased to more than 50 percent. This influx of cash allowed Japanese car manufacturers to innovate in areas of manufacturing technology and engine design, resulting in the development of the rotary engine by Toyo Kogyo.

1975 to 1985
1982 Honda Accord
The global oil crisis of 1973 created a demand for more fuel-efficient cars. With American car manufacturers having focused for years on high-power, large engines, Japan was in a good position, with its lineup of smaller engines designed for fuel efficiency, to enter many global markets, especially the U.S. Because Japanese cars were already small and light, they were one of the first to use innovative materials, such as plastics and high tension steel sheeting, to further reduce weight.

In 1981, the Voluntary Export Restraints limited Japanese car exports to the U.S. to a mere 1.68 million cars a year. However, while it was done so that more people would buy American, what it did instead was force Japan to become even more competitive with its American cousins. The Japanese continued to make better, safer, more fuel-efficient vehicles that also looked good and were inexpensive to purchase.    


In 1982 the Honda Accord became the first Japanese automobile manufactured in the U.S.

In 1984 Toyota opened NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) in Fremont, California, the first joint venture automobile manufacturing plant in the U.S. with its partner General Motors.

In 1983, Jumpin' John Goldsmith releases his widely popular song: You're Still Not Safe In A Japanese Car. Nice try, America.

1985 to present By 1985, Japanese automakers had been established as world-class operations.

Innovations in manufacturing systems, management systems, and automotive materials were at levels that wouldn't be matched by other nations until the mid-1990s. Japanese manufacturers focused on product improvement, including technological innovations. One area of focus was making cars recyclable. By 1985, 75 percent of a Japanese car, by weight, could be recycled. Japanese manufacturers also focused on safety improvements. Japan began manufacturing cars in local markets, such as the United States, as a response to protectionist sentiments. By the mid-1990s, Japanese manufacturers had entered the luxury car markets with high-end co-brands, such as Acura and Lexus, being produced to compete with European manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Here's a list of some important auto makers and their entries: 
  • 1986 - Acura is launched in the US by Honda
  • 1988 - Daihatsu enters the US making it the first time all nine Japanese manufacturers are present
  • 1989 - Lexus is launched in the US by Toyota
  • 1989 - Infiniti is launched in the US by Nissan
  • 1989 - United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI) founded in Australia as a joint venture between Toyota and Aussie's Holden
  • 1996 - UAAI joint venture dissolved
  • 2003 - Scion is launched by Toyota
  • 2008 - Toyota surpasses General Motors to become the world's largest car manufacturer
  • 2010 - 2009–2010 Toyota vehicle recalls
  • 2011 - Tohoku earthquake affects production of Japanese auto manufacturers and parts.
Passenger cars

Manufacturer 2007 2008 2009
Toyota 3,849,353  3,631,146  2,277,426
Honda 1,288,577 1,230,621 729,804
Nissan 982,870 1,095,661 702,071
Suzuki 1,061,767 1,059,456 691,435
Mazda 952,290 1,038,725 627,517
Daihatsu 648,289 641,322 507,638
Mitsubishi 758,038 770,667 320,690
Subaru 403,428 460,515 318,714
Other 25 30 0
Total 9,944,637 9,928,143 6,175,295

Trucks
Manufacturer 2007 2008 2009
Toyota 291,008 271,544 163,092
Suzuki 156,530 158,779 135,724
Daihatsu 138,312 151,935 121,291
Isuzu 236,619 250,692 104,387
Nissan 188,788 189,005 100,507
Mitsubishi 88,045 83,276 56,895
Hino 101,909 101,037 55,295
Subaru 72,422 64,401 46,098
Mitsubishi Fuso 131,055 115,573 44,462
Honda 43,268 33,760 24,803
Mazda 43,221 39,965 22,119
Nissan Diesel 44,398 45,983 16,738
Other 2,445 2,449 489
Total 1,538,020  1,508,399  891,900

Buses
Manufacturer 2007  2008 2009
Toyota 85,776  109,698   63,178
Mitsubishi Fuso 10,225   10,611   4,619
Nissan 7,422    8,416   4,130
Hino 4,984    5,179   4,044
Isuzu 3,668     3,221   1,804
Nissan Diesel 1,595    1,977   1,479
Total 113,670   139,102   79,254

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph
Thank you Wikipedia for the charts and the last two three yearly data dumps. The later bits of information were well researched... but I had to do a fair amount of research in all of the other earlier stuff because I suppose I love pioneer history.

15 comments:

  1. Thank you for the interesting and informative article.

    How many car companies in general, and Japanese car companies in particular do you believe will still be around in 10-20 years? The reason I ask, is because of an article I read a number of years ago in possibly either the WSJ, or FT. It mentioned that the margins on cars were abysmal, and that one would be better off selling or investing in something like razor blades. One razor blades, the margins are a consistent, ca. 10-15%, versus cars, where if one does make any money in a given year, one is lucky to break 7%. Judging Toyota on Wikipedia, they were right.

    My condolences on the SAAB. Is SAAB in Japan like Mercedes-Benz, ie: there is only AFAIK, one company that owns all the dealerships and has exclusive sales rights for all of Japan?

    My sister owns a SAAB, and if I wasn't a mechanic in a previous life, she would be paying money hands over fists over it. I think it is on par with an Audi for reliability, but some of the parts are even more dear.

    All the best.

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  2. Sorry anonymous, I am no longer in Japan - so I can't answer the question re: SAABs. With SAAB's demise, cars like mine will be worth a pretty penny owing to the parts it will provide other drivable SAABs.
    I don't believe car companies are going to go by the wayside anytime soon. Look at the US lending money to the Big Three. All they needed was time to get some cars made that the public might actually want... instead of giving them - in arrogance - cars they wanted to sell.
    In Japan... the auto manufacturers are still giving people what they want and need. I still think there are too many models made by each manufacturer...maybe that should decrease to save car companies money... does every manufacturer need to create a sportscar, sedan, compact, station wagon, SUV, Cross-over and various versions of each? Remember what made Ford rich. He said of his Model T: You can can have any color you want as long as it's black. Brilliant. Give the people what they need, but stop with the ridiculous options. The fact that the people building the cars on the line make $30 an hour is ridiculous. Yes it is tedious boring work. But why should some guy who never finished high school make more money than me who has 7 years of post-secondary education? The unions are great for the people in them, but are bad for the auto industry. 100 years ago, they made sure the worker wasn't abused - and that's great, but now in my opinion, it is biting the hand that feeds it. The auto industry needs to get control of the inmates running the asylum. Fire everyone and offer the jobs to people at fair wages. How many unemployed in Detroit would take that?
    I know... I sound like an anarchist or something or a commie, but something needs to be done about the outrageous prices. That will save the global auto industry. Plus gas price fixing. And outrageous auto insurance prices.

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  3. Plus... look at the workmanship and pride that went into the designs of the cars of yesteryear... nowadays there are four basic car styles for every single brand. Back in the 1960s in the USA you could sit on your porch and actually name each car that drove by because each had its own unique style.
    Today's car - with a few exceptions - lack individual style. How can I identify a 55, 56 and 57 Chevy Bel Air? Or a 63 'Vette? Style. Subtle changes to make a difference... nowadays car companies wait for 5 years before a body style change... boring.

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  4. SAABs might be worth a pretty penny in the future, but it might take a few years. Most defunct marques only start appreciating after they are 20-30+ years old.

    I don't believe that car companies are going by the wayside anytime soon either. I do believe that mergers and bankruptcies will increase globally.

    The problems with American car makers could fill libraries. To some degree it was arrogance, but it many way they painted themselves in a corner. They main problem is they had to continue to pay for dramatically increasing health care & pensions for millions of Americans, which was a huge weight around their neck.

    If the Japanese car makers were giving people what they want, then first, outside of Toyota, Honda, and possibly Nissan, why are their unit numbers produced so small? Second, if they are what people want, why do European makers still generally carry more prestige, and it seems more profits, than Japanese nameplates? I agree the Japanese makers generally build affordable efficient vehicles, but many times people want luxury and a European feel.

    If the business weren't so cutthroat, and margins so tight, why was Daihatsu bought by Toyota, Nissan purchased by Renault, and why did controlling interest of Mazda fall into the hands of Ford?

    The numbers for wages bantered about generally used by people, aren't factored properly. They just look at the total labor costs, and then divide it by the number of employees, which sounds good. It doesn't factor in the millions of retirees collecting pensions and health care. There was a car plant here that closed recently, the top pay level was $24 an hour. One generally has to do a pretty good job to stay on for that long, since with automation and competition, the American car makers have been cutting the workforce on average 7% per year, for over the last 30 years. How would you like to work in an industry that fired 7% of the employees on average, year in and year out, for 3 decades?

    Most car makers seem to be using the same number of platforms, but coming out with more models from them. They must believe it is in their best interest to come out with more and more models.

    Some are born rich, others poor. Some do things for financial remuneration, others for the thing itself. People charge, and people pay, what they believe they are worth. One can gripe that the world is unfair, but actually the world is unfair, since fairness seems to only exist in the hearts of men, not outside of it.

    It sounds good in theory, to fire everyone, and rehire them at lower wages, except it has effectively already been done with GM & Chrysler. When they declared bankruptcy, the union contracts were null and void. The current workers took a pay cut, and all future workers will start at around $11-13 per hour.

    The problems with Detroit are numerous. It doesn't help matters that the entire city was designed around making cars. Cars that can now be built generally by other people, but particularly by machine, so much cheaper. Most of the people in Detroit are simply no longer wanted or needed to make cars. With such racial strife and animosity, coupled with such poverty, Detroit itself may well be un-fixable.

    In my opinion, many cars lack style because they want to be aerodynamic to meet fuel efficiency requirements. Hence the reason why so many cars look the same.

    The question as to why the models change so little; I think the main reason is cost. Ford for example, spent over $6 billion just to design the Ford Mondeo! It was a $14-18k car. One has to sell quite a few of them to get ones money back I reckon.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for writing your well-thought out views. It is appreciated.
      I wouldn't REALLY want to fire everyone and start again.
      I do know a few people working at the car company assembly line, and they are lazy. They fake an injury and milk it.
      Not everyone is like this, of course.
      I know that the work is often mind-numbing... turning a wrench for eight hours a day... BUT... it's grunt work. It's not highly skilled labour and it's not something you need post secondary education for. The fact that there is nepotism involved in getting a job - even a summer job sucks.
      I would do that job. With overtime available, I could make quite a tidy amount of money every month - certainly more than I make as a writer now... where I don't get OT and do get crappy benefits.... often less and less with each squeeze of the economic vise... and I have 7 years of post-secondary education. Seven! Do you think that's fair? It's not. But... I won't begrudge anyone to make more money than me... I just wish I made more.
      I feel bad for Detroit and its people. But... it's not unfixable.
      Re: small numbers of Japanese cars and people wanting big strong cars - I agree... I want a Corvette... but if I had my way, it would be a 63 split-window... or a 57 Chevy Nomad.... or a 70 Cougar... or a 63 T-bird. New cars? I love the look of the PT Cruiser... but safety-wise it wasn't so good.
      People in the US love to buy American, and that's great... but while it saves jobs and is great for the economy, it doesn't necessarily encourage industries like the automobile one to put out that special product that will take the industry by storm.
      Smart Cars... what's with the price? Hybrids? I can't afford one! Electric cars? Really? In the US, most of the power generated in the US is derived from coal. Environmentally friendly? No. Plug your car in and cause some more damage to the environment.
      Your point about the amount of money spent on R&D is awesome! Great point!
      Great point also on the shrinking number of car manufacturers! Can't argue with facts! It also removes competition... which means fewer people to push the envelope. That sucks. Here's the same car in a different package for more money because we have to pay down the debt we have incurred to buy out the competition or pay back our loan.
      I think the thing that bothers me the most is that 40 years ago, a family might have an income of say $40,000. That's what a house cots... and a standard vehicle might be around $4000.
      I know... because my dad purchased a 73 Scamp and our current house in 1973 for 44,000 in Toronto. How much might a new car cost now of the same 'quality'? Maybe $14,000. The house in Toronto (or rather the property) is worth $600,000. Yes. But this is Toronto... while an average family might bring home $80,000.
      While we might afford a car... we'll never pay that house off for 25 years or more.
      F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby: "The rich get richer and the poor get children."
      So... while the family income might be double from the last 40 years... car prices have more than tripled, and home prices have gone up by 10x. Not included are costs for gas... hell... in the last 20 years alone it's gone from 44 cents a liter to I believe it was $1.23 a liter today - nearly triple. The whole way in which we live has become far too expensive and our take-home pay is a lot less, so to speak.
      Maybe you are right and the whole car industry will collapse because no one can afford a car because they are spending money on housing, food and four monthly smart phone plans for the family.
      How is it that my TV bill was $30 12 years ago and is now $80. After a changing careers, I pretty much make the same amount of money now as I did then (I'm happier now), but my TV bill is nearly triple. In fact... I bet it is.
      Ugh. I need a drink.
      Thanks for the interesting conversation!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the kind regards!

      You comment touches on a number of interesting topics. Since I have friends from Detroit and greater Michigan, I've read and heard a number of things to keep up with their conversations. I believe that the auto industry as a whole will remain, but the number of people employed, and the number of auto companies, will be reduced significantly in future years. From what I've read and heard since 2007-08, there is a tremendous amount of overcapacity globally.

      Could you go into more detail sometime about you opinions of the city of Detroit? From what I've seen it may not be the worst place on earth, but it is rather bad in a number of issues.

      About the "PT" Cruiser, from what I recall, it was based from the 2000+ Neon, the "PL" platform, which itself was based from the earlier "95+" Neon (which actually came out in 2-94,) hence, probably the big reason for the lower safety numbers.

      Only a slight majority of Americans want to buy the typical American nameplates. The problem nowadays seems to be like television, the internet, or the media in general, everything is very fractured and broken up, including the customers. It is not easy when so many people want so many different things, compared to way-back-when, like when the "big three" had 90% of the market, and had no problems selling 500k-1m of a particular model. Now a hit might be when they sell 50k units, when they only expected to sell 40k units.

      I think that a lot of automotive technology is just smoke and mirrors, or essentially PR for the car companies. Hybrids sound good in theory, until one looks at the overall cost, both in terms of the environment and money.

      I personally would like to have a quality smaller car, that would get 3-7L/100 km, whether it comes with a gasoline or diesel powered engine. Look at not just the "kei" cars, but all the other small Japanese cars that are never imported into the US or Canada. Add to that all the European ones. The problem is that most Americans don't seem to want small cars in general, and (more expensive) quality small cars in particular. Plus, it is usually tough for a foreign nameplate to make much, if any, money on small cars.

      Regarding paying down debt, it's only tangentially related, to the car company comment, but I will share it. It used to be 15-20 years ago that there were a number of local and regional cable TV companies, now they have virtually disappeared and have been replaced by national and international companies. I heard from a colleague who used to work in the cable TV industry, part of the reason that cable TV bills are so high, is basically to pay off the interest on all the debt that was incurred to merge and buy out all the smaller players.

      I agree with everything that was mentioned regarding the increasing cost of living. It poses a number of questions and ideas in my mind.

      The main idea is that the world is a big, albeit finite, sphere.

      Why is it the government keeps on readjusting the inflation metrics? Why is it for roughly the last 5+ years in the US, the inflation numbers bandied about don't include food or energy costs? Who really trusts the inflation numbers coming from governments?

      The increasing price for residential property is troubling. In the US, we've experienced a huge property bubble, that is, in certain areas. There are many small towns or virtually even entire states, that were prosperous in 1973, that are nearly ghost towns since most of the jobs left.

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  5. (continued)

    The GTA pricing is probably somewhat due to a Canadian residential property bubble, but some of it is I believe is due to the overall population of the GTA area. I'm guessing that the population has probably doubled since 1973. There are other areas in the GTA, like parts of the US, where prices have gone up 10-20 times. I'm guessing there are certain areas in the GTA where the increases haven't been nearly as extreme, because frankly the areas weren't probably very good in 1973, and have gone down markedly since. I think the main motivation, and subsequent high prices for residential property, is to be located in a decent area, close to where the job centres exist.

    The unemployment rate in 1973 in the US was circa 5%. If using the same methodology today, it would be close to 20%.

    I love the Fitzgerald quote. How is it my father was able to raise an entire family in relative prosperity, when two of us currently, can barely make ends meet? My father was able to save money, yet we have to spend almost everything we earn. Sure people have more cheap plastic toys and gadgets, but I think that the overall quality of life is lower than in 1973. My current belief is that in the US, and probably Canada, that the standard of living peaked somewhere around roughly 1968-1975, and has been in a decline ever since.

    There were 22.4 million people in Canada in 1973, versus 33.7 now. There were 221 million people in the US in 1973, versus 311 now. There were 4 billion people in the world in 1974, versus 7 billion now. When one looks at what it takes to support a life, especially in a first world country, globally we have used up a tremendous amount of resources, many of which that are non-renewable, hence finite.

    It seems that sometimes the children must pay for the "folly"? of their fathers.

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  6. Hey, do you know where can I find a history of Japanese car market? By that I mean strictly japanese domestic market and competition beetwen companies there, not abroad .
    Thanks in advance.

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  8. ompare to Indian cars, Japanese cars are more reliable though both cars are fuel-efficient. That’s why I prefer the latter compare to this car.

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