These days, Japanese cars are synonymous with sleek style and superior safety — not to mention innovation. But how did they get such a brilliant reputation? Many drivers know the history of the American car, but we want to tell you a little bit about the major milestones of Japanese auto manufacturing.
In 1902, the first car was built in Japan. However, none of the parts used to construct the car were Japanese: Komanosuke Uchiyama used a gas engine he brought from the United States! It wasn’t until 1914 that Japan manufactured its first car using all-Japanese parts: the Model A was designed by Mitsubishi Zozen, a name many around the world know well today.
1930s and 1940s
In the 1930s, Americans were primarily producing cars for the Japanese market. But in 1936, the Japanese government passed the Automobile Manufacturing Industries Act, which broke up the American car monopoly. This act spurred the creation of a car company that’s still successful today: Toyota.
1950s and 1960s
After World War II, the Japanese really cemented their legacy of automobile innovation. The Japanese government encouraged automakers to manufacture cars that were small, fuel-efficient, and affordable for Japanese citizens. Companies like Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru produced early models that fit the government’s bill.
1970s and 1980s
The popularity of Japanese cars can be attributed in part to their fuel efficiency. In 1973, a worldwide oil crisis meant consumers wanted fuel-efficient cars — a need that couldn’t be filled by existing American vehicles. Instead, the world turned to Japanese cars. These cars had lighter weights because they incorporated small engines and were built using light materials, like plastics and high tension steel sheeting.
Later, in the 1980s, Japanese automakers innovated further by introducing cars that were made of recyclable materials. By 1985, 75 percent of a Japanese car could be recycled.
By the early 1990s, Japanese automakers had entered the luxury automobile market, with high-end offerings like Lexus and Acura. Like other Japanese cars, these lines were soon competing with other luxury vehicles from around the world.
Japanese vehicles are designed to have long lives — if you take care of them properly, that is. Did you know that using genuine factory parts in your Japanese car can keep your car driving smoother for longer? Don’t use replacement parts in your Japanese car’s service; instead, get real parts and real know-how at LexService Lexus & Toyota Maintenance. Contact us today.