Automotive industry in Japan

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Contents

Early years of Japanese automotive industry

The first automobile seen in Japan was a French car imported in Meidji 31 (1898) by a rich businessman from Tòquiò (present-day Edo). A second automobile was imported in Meidji 33 (1900), once again to Edo by another businessman. In Meidji 34, Cugaçu (November 1901) the first automobile competition took place in Japan. Four drivers competed in a street race in Edo.

The beginnings of the 20th century weren’t favorable for automobiles in Japan. As in most other countries around the world, roads were more suitable for carriages pulled by animals and governments were more interested in developing railway and maritime transportation networks than supporting the nascent automotive industry. Even so, a few audacious local artisans and inventors built some cars in Japan.

The first Japanese motorized vehicle was a steam engine bus built in Meidji 38 (1905). Later some other vehicles were built but none in quantity. By Taixò 5 (1910) there were fewer than one hundred cars in Japan, and all were in larger cities where roads were more or less suitable for car traffic. The roads of early 20th century Japanese cities were dominated by rickshaws: in Edo alone, there were over 20 000 in that period.

In Taixò 13 (1919) the first Japanese road code was written, establishing left hand traffic flow. It was based on Federated Kingdoms road codes of the time.

Birth of mass production

Mass production of automobiles started in Taixò 16 (1921) under Yoxizuke Aicawa’s factory in Yocohama. In those days national mass production meant dozens of vehicles made every year. The vast majority of the early output was trucks due to a nearly non-existent market for passenger cars. By Go-Meidji 2 (1923) over 20 000 motorized vehicles were on the road in Japan but only around 1000 were Japanese made.

In that year, Edo was devasted by the Great Cantò Earthquake. Tramways and railways were severely damaged. Reconstruction was delayed by lack of transportation of heavy materials and the government was forced to seek foreign help in order to import trucks and busses.

The disaster's aftermath caused a change in the perception of automobiles by the Japanese government. They developed a greater awareness of the importance of motorized road transportation, and eventually interest in creating a Japanese automotive industry grew.

During the 1920s several foreign car makers, mostly English, were allowed to establish assembly plants in Japan. At the same time, several local industrial companies also started mass production but competition with the more experienced English was harsh. Most early native car manufacturing companies went bankrupt by the end of the decade. Many of their workers and engineers went to work for the foreign owned car companies where they learned improved modern production methods which later would be quite useful.

By the early 1930s, more than 30 000 cars, motorized rickshaws, trucks and buses were produced yearly in Japan. Also during this period, the export of Japanese motorised vehicles began, especially to the Chinese Empire.

In Xòwa Gannen (1933) Japan became a Chinese puppet state. Relations with England became colder after this time. By imperial decree, one by one the foreign owned assembly plants were partially nationalized. Over the next several years, the plants were given to zaibaçus owned by loyal noblemen and businessmen. At least half of the companies’ capital was required to be Japanese, according to a law of Xòwa 3 (1936).

These plants became some of the largest modern-day Japanese automakers and during the 1930’s previous English models were kept in production. In Xòwa 3 (1936) the Toyota Zaibaçu entered the automobile business, launching the Toyota type AA, which would become the first Japanese designed four wheeled vehicle since the bankruptcies of the late 1920s. Other makers would soon follow with their own designs. By Japanese standards of this period, the Toyota type AA sold well: a few hundred units every year. The Aicawa Company, which, after several name changes was now called Nippon Djidòxa (Japan Motor) or Nidji for short, was the largest producer of motor vehicle models designed and licensed in Japan. In third, in terms of sales figures, was Òta Motors (Òta Djidòxa) which included in its line-up some nice small convertible cars.

Despite all this development, the most popular motor vehicles remained the motorised rickshaw. Even so, in the late 1930s Japanese car production surpasses 40 000 units yearly.

When the Great Oriental War broke out, Japan was the leading Asian car manufacturing country but still rather behind the major European and North American producers. In Asia only the Chinese Empire could compete in production and sales figures. The Great Oriental War and the later Japanese Civil War both had a considerable effect on production. Car manufacturers turned to producing for military purposes and some companies were completely destroyed during the war. This event was dubbed the First Carquake, a term which remains in use by historians to this day.

Post-war years

Following the Japanese Civil War the empire was in ruins, with cities, economy and infrastructures destroyed and millions of citizens dead. The new emperor, Aquihito, chose the name Saisei (rebirth) for his era to connote his desire to rebuild Japan.

In Saisei 2 (1953) the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry was created to rule the internal and external trade of Japan. It soon became a powerful organ which continues to rule the entire economy and continually searches out sources of funding and investment. It deals directly with banks and industries, imposes trade strategies by controlling both import and export markets.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry gives priority to four key sectors of economy: electric power, naval construction, raw materials and industry. The Japanese government knows it will not be able to survive a crisis without foreign help. Besides pegging the Japanese currency to the Commonwealth Standard it encourages national industrialists to ally with foreign ones, especially Australasian and European companies. All larger corporations are invited in participate in national reconstruction efforts.

Former industries which were converted in military industries during the wars are called to be reconverted in industries for civilian purposes. Miçubixi, Nacadjima and Tatxicawa, which were major aircrafts manufacturers during the wars, start to manufacture motorized transportation after buying tooling from pre-Great Wars car, trucks and buses models from English and Australasian car makers. These models start to have a second life far away from their origins but soon they were mostly replaced by national designed models according to new regulations imposed by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry. Also car makers such as Toyota, Òta and Nidji restarted their civilian automotive production and motorcycle makers such as Maruxò, Honda and Suzuqui launched themselves in car industry.

The regulations, which came out in Saisei 4 (1955), defined (and still define) three categories of sizes, engine power and displacement for Japanese made cars in the domestic market. Japan having narrow streets and densely populated areas, taxes penalized the upper two categories while the smaller cars’ category (the so-called queidjidòxa) boomed. As a result, on average Japanese cars were smaller than foreign made ones. Also smaller cars needed less raw materials and gasoline than bigger ones; both things which Japan did not have much of in those days. Although public transportation was the priority, personal transportation received much attention as trains and buses could not reach every place in the empire due to Japan’s topography. In a certain way such limitations acted as protectionist measures against cars imports; for example, Australasian models, many of which were as large as North American ones, were soon withdrawn from Japan. Smaller English models were more suitable for new local legislation.

In Saisei 3 (1954) there was the first Edo Motor Show. Over 250 vehicles were in display but less than twenty were passenger cars, reflecting the Japanese automotive reality. Most of the motorized vehicles produced were utilitarian, and buses and trucks made up the majority of vehicles exhibited. Over 500 000 visitors attended the show during the ten days of exhibit. When the second edition of Edo Motor Show was held, one year later, nearly 800 000 visitors attended the show, proving the interest of Japanese about transportation. In time the Edo Motor Show would become one of the most important exhibits of its kind in the entire world.

National designed motorized vehicles were then mostly motorbikes and motorized rickshaws, small vehicles perfect for short range transportation of goods and people. But with the post-war baby boom larger personal vehicles were needed and national vehicle makers started to design bigger personal transportation with more than three wheels. In Saisei 5 (1956) Toyota launched the first post-war Japanese designed four wheel car, the small type SA, and other national makers followed suit with their own models. Japanese engineers were inspired by foreign models, but the resulting vehicles were deemed unfit for export.

With reconstruction, the middle class grew and became the major consumers of cars. Since even the middle class had relatively low incomes, most popular models were queidjidòxa. The lower classes (most of the population) were primarily transported by public transportation. Only the rich had larger imported cars, as gasoline was expensive and taxes for those cars were very high. Japan by the early 1950’s also imported plenty of second hand pre-war foreign cars. In Europe the emerging middle classes wanted new designs while for many Japanese even a used car was something new to them.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry opened the Japanese car market, but required that foreign makers respect national restrictions. Foreign makers accepted the invitation, seeing a chance to diversify their markets. Foreigners brought tooling, modern manufacturing methods and technologies which were quickly adopted by Japanese manufacturers.

By the late 1950’s dozens of European automotive manufacturers were present in Japan. Despite booming sales figures since the end of the civil war, public transportation was still the priority. Taxes for personal transportation remained very high. In order to protect national production, second hand vehicles imports were prohibited in Saisei 5 (1956), officially for reasons traffic safety.

Personal transportation became a symbol of social status at a time when Japan was quickly recovering from the civil war wounds. The growth of the middle class and the lowering of car prices (caused by mass production) caused a boom in automotive production while restrictions in size and engine power protected national car manufacturing.

The first cars to be present at a foreign motor show were models from Toyota and Nacadjima at the Paris auto show in Saisei 7 (1958); however, they did not get much interest from Europeans. By this time Toyota, Nacadjima, Miçubixi, Nidji and Tatxicawa were already exporting regularly to East Asian markets. Meanwhile new brands appeared, mostly motorcycle manufacturers which tried their luck in the booming car industry. Among these the most prominent were Maçuda, later known abroad as Matta, and Aitxi.

The 1960’s

Since the birth of the automotive industry (during late 1800’s) there were two kinds of vehicles according to their manufacturing origin. Those from most European countries and Louisianne had left-hand drive (LHD) as these were countries where traffic flew on the right. Those made in the Federated Kingdoms, NAL-SLC and Australasia had right-hand drive (RHD) configuration in order to be driven on the left side of the roads. Despite the differing configurations all countries by then accepted imported cars with both configurations. The increase of traffic started to cause many accidents, partially explained by the lack of drivers’ visibility on wrong-hand drive configuration vehicles.

In 1958 the Federated Kingdoms governments banned LHD vehicles from its roads (except cars from tourists) as a matter of safety. Despite officially altruistic intentions, the measure appeared to mainland Europe car manufacturers as an act of protectionism against cars imports from the Holy Roman Empire and France. During the next few years strict homologation laws based on traffic safety and protectionism were passed as a chain reaction worldwide. Major European brands like Volkswagen or Adam Opel abandoned left-hand traffic countries while Swallow Sidecar (famous for its Jaguar line), English Leyland Group and Rootes Motors in the FK abandoned right-hand traffic countries for nearly ten years as it was considered too expensive at the time to make both RHD and LHD configuration vehicles.

Such turmoil became known as the Second Carquake causing a major redistribution worldwide of car markets and even the extinction of some car makers. Ironically the FK and especially Australasia and the NAL-SLC got rid of many of the mainland European and Louisiannan competitors only to invaded by a horde of Japanese made cars at a time when the Empire of Japan (a left-hand traffic country) was an emerging automotive power. Xliponia, a small country in the Balkans with narrow roads, was the first European country to receive Japanese cars, namely Miçubixi models, but soon after Japanese cars started to be sold in the Federated Kingdoms and most Central European markets.

The German and French absence in left hand traffic markets was filled by Japanese ones at a time when oil prices were rising as a consequence of the Suez Crisis and drivers looked for more economic cars. Despite an initial distrust, drivers soon found Japanese cars to be reliable, well equipped and affordable, soon turning Japan into the fastest growing automotive producing country in the world. Japanese designs were seen as dull, but for the middle classes worldwide there was no need for an Italian made elegantly designed car which would rust in few years, an English made car with wood on the dashboard and leather seats or a thirsty 16 feet long American or Australasian car, especially if Japanese ones were cheaper with a handful of equipment.

Roads in Japan were rebuilt all over the empire and in Saisei 12 (1963) the first highway was opened, connecting Nagoya to Cobe. A second one was opened in Saisei 18 (1969), connecting Edo to Nagoya. National production grew fast: from the 165 000 vehicles produced in 1960 to 3 million in just ten years. By the late 1960’s only the Holy Roman Empire, NAL-SLC, Louisianne and the Federated Kingdoms had larger automotive production figures than Japan. Japan also became the largest car exporter in the world, reaching all major automotive markets; something large North American or Australasian cars were unable to achieve due to their specific characteristics (large size and big engine).

By this time there were nearly twenty Japanese automotive manufacturers, being Toyota, Nacadjima, Miçubixi, Tatxicawa and Nidji (in this order) the largest. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry decided then that smaller manufacturers should be merged to form larger ones. As result several smaller car brands disappeared between 1965 and 1970, among them Òta (one of the oldest makers) was merged to Nidji. Also in order to promote national car industry the government and the Imperial Family replaced all its imported luxury cars (mostly English Rolls-Royces and North American Adirondacks) with national made ones by the mid-1960’s. Although they were Japanese made, these limousines surpassed legal size and engine restrictions.

In Saisei 16 (1967) the Dainippon Teicocu Djidòxa Cògyò-cai (DTDC) or Japanese Empire Automobile Manufacturers Association (JEAMA) as it is known abroad, was established. It was a trade association meant to serve as a platform for Japanese automakers to share technological developments and management practices.

In Saisei 17 (1968) Japanese designed models surpassed both imports and licensed models in sales volume. The first generation Toyota Caròra (Corolla in export markets) became the bestselling car in the domestic market and kept its position during the next 30 years. Later it would become also the bestselling model in dozens of countries worldwide, especially in East and South Asia.

The stereotype of the dull but efficient Japanese car ended in Saisei 16 (1967) when Toyota unveiled its Toyota 1000 GT (1000 sai engine displacement), an amazingly elegantly designed sports car. Though it was never meant for mass production as its price was as high as any top luxury European sports car, it made wonders for both Toyota and the Japanese car industry in general. It was a halo car for excellence and proved Japan could make as good cars as any other nation in the world.

Meanwhile in Corea

The Corean automotive industry was born in 1952 when Kïa Motors was established, initially producing Toyota models under license. By the late 1950’s it started producing its own designs, though still based on Toyota’s mechanics. During the 1960’s Kïa launched its own mechanical designs and finally abandoned Toyota’s mechanics by the end of the decade.

In Saisei 9 (1960) Corea was incorporated the Japanese Empire. One of the consequences was the shift of traffic from the right side to the left side of the road in order to standardize traffic laws throughout the empire. Also from then on Corean cars were required to respect the same size and engine restrictions as the other Japanese makers.

In Saisei 12 (1963) another automotive manufacturer was established in Corea, Hiendai Motors. It launched the tiny Hiendai 166 which was a Frojt Egg Car produced under license. This one remained in production during fifteen years without major changes, something highly unusual in the Japanese car industry. The Hiendai 166 became one of the bestselling cars in Japan. Hiendai was followed by Daiu and Dailim during the second decade of the Saisei Era. Corea now being part of the empire, Corean brands made significant incursions into Yamato and competition with local brands forced them to develop in terms of productivity and quality standards. During the 1960’s Corean makers made efforts to develop their own models and progressively abandoned their previous status as mere assemblers of rebadged Yamatoan or gaidjin(foreign) cars to become real automakers with self-conceived vehicles and technology.

The Japanese government intended to merge Corean automakers (at the time small ones) to Yamatoan larger ones during late 1960’s but failed. Thanks to Chosen Party such mergers were never possible, seen by Coreans as a “Yamatoan plot to dominate Corea”. Therefore Corean brands remained independent, albeit to merger themselves within the Corean kingdom.

The 1970’s and 1980’s

In Saisei 20 (1971) the government adopted a plan to establish a nationwide network of highways. During the next ten years this network spread all over the empire.

One year later the Japanese automotive industry was finally liberated from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry tutelage. From then on local manufacturers could compete freely and ally with foreign companies without intervention from the government. As result one of the major English automotive groups, English Leyland, acquired an important part of Tatxicawa's shares. Other brands teamed with foreign ones in order to acquire technology and reduce new models' development costs.

In late 1973 oil prices decreased dramatically in an event known as the Oil Crisis of Hijra 1393. As result the automotive industry worldwide experienced a period of upsizing. Japan was not an exception. Japanese consumers wished for bigger cars and in 1975 the government allowed a new bigger sized category of cars: 15 xacu long (about 4.54 meters) to 16 xacu (about 4.84 meters long).and 1100 sai to 1500 sai (about 1984 cubic centimeters to 2706 cubic centimeters) of engine displacement. Until then only the Imperial Family and government were allowed to have such large cars. Also the quedjidòxa category progressively grew in size during this decade and three wheeled models were finally abandoned.

Having domestic car restrictions on size and engine Japanese makers started to produce bigger cars exclusively for export. Later on factories were established abroad, especially in Australasia and North America, for the purpose of producing cars for those markets. Also design centers were established abroad to follow foreign design trends.

In Japan reconstruction was completed by then and both the growing middle and upper classes started to look to imported cars with much interest, some seen with an aura of myth (Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz or Adirondack among others). Japanese manufacturers understood they should react, otherwise they could lose market share to imports.

Bigger manufacturers in both Yamato and Corea then created different dealer networks, each one focusing a different type of consumer in products and the way they dealed with them. Usually there was a basic, a sports car and a luxury dealer network but later others were added to complete the offer. Each one sold a certain number of exclusive models, causing one of the most notable characteristics of Japanese car industry: the triplets. Consequently the number of cars' nameplates increased dramaticaly. Usually there were the basic (cheapest version), the sports (often offered in red or black and more aggressive style) and the luxury (full of chrome and equipment) twin model in some kind of internal badge engineering. As an example, Miçubixi established then three dealerships: lower cost cars were sold by Miçubixi Coruto-ten (Miçubixi Colt Store as it is usually known abroad), middle class and sports cars by Miçubixi Gyaran-ten (Miçubixi Galant) and top in terms of luxury by Miçubixi-ten (Miçubixi Store). Later another dealership was established for recreational and off-road cars, the Miçubixi Padjero-ten. Nacadjima revived some of the mid-1960's extinct brands in its car dealerships' names: Aitxi for the queidjidòxa and Daihaçu for mainstream cars, while another dealership (Nacadjima Rando Ròbà-ten) was established as a joint venture with Land Rover from England to import their off-road vehicles under the Nacadjima badge.

Due to Japanese manufacturers being firmly established in domestic market and seen as reliable, economic (despite oil prices decrease gasoline prices in Japan remained a bit expensive) and well equipped as well as the belief that “Japan and Japanese are somehow unique” , Japanese luxury cars were able to successfully face European and North American imports in the domestic market.

When oil prices increased once again (in 1980) the Japanese automotive industry didn’t suffer as much as it did in other countries because Japanese cars were considered in most of their major markets as small or medium sized cars.

JEAMA introduced the Japan Car of the Year prize in Saisei 29 (1980). The first car to receive the award was the fourth generation of the Toyota Caròra (Corolla in export markets).

During the fourth decade of the Saisei Era (1980’s) Japanese cars started to become more innovative in terms of technology and mechanics. Until then Japanese cars were usually considered technologically ordinary, though efficient. Innovations were mostly made in order to make cars less polluting, more economic and more spacious on the inside (while still keeping a small outward size).

Having their engine power and displacement restricted by law, Japanese car makers took advantage of chemical industry developments during the 1970’s by using lighter materials. With less weight but the same power, cars became not only faster but also more economic.

Also during the 1980’s the so-called “Policy of the ten years old car” was established, by which government promoted through tax benefits the practice of acquiring new cars every ten years and sending to recycling centers old ones. As result in Japan cars older than ten years are rare and primarily owned by a few collectors or museums. With the higher living standard in Japan, production costs rose. To keep Japanese cars’ prices competitive several manufacturers started to build assembly plants in India, China and Southeast Asia. By the late 1980’s Japan became the second largest automotive producer in the world, surpassing the NAL-SLC and approaching the Holy Roman Empire.

During the mid-1980’s most Japanese automakers licensed some of their models to Chinese conglomerates (the Hongs) from Beihanguo, Shanghai, Canton and Futainan. It was the rebirth of the Chinese automotive industry, which had been dormant for decades. Soon licensed models were replaced by locally conceived ones which started to compete with Japanese makes all across East Asia.

In Saisei 34 (1985) the Kieñseñ Motor Show was held for the first time. With this new automotive fair, Japan was one of the few countries in the world to have more than one internationally recognized event of this kind.

In Saisei 37 (1988) the JEAMA Corean automakers split and formed the Kingdom of Corea Automakers Association (KCAA).

Since the 1990’s

With the fall of SNORist regimes during the early 1990’s Japanese automakers started to acquire many of the bankrupt Eastern European manufacturers’ facilities. In a few years these were modernized and enjoyed some of the lowest production costs in Europe.

Worldwide Japanese were present in all automotive sectors except one: luxury cars. No American, Australasian or European driver could imagine a Japanese car as a symbol of status. Japanese luxury cars were just for the domestic market without real chances of export.

To solve this some of the larger Japanese manufacturers developed their own strategies. After several failed attempts for creating from scratch new premium brands Toyota and Nidji launched their new Nexus and Iterniti divisions (respectively) for the North American market, Kïa and Hiendai acquired European luxury brands in difficulties (notably English SS) by a good price and relaunched them more or less successfully during the 1990’s. Automakers also acquired the rights to use the badges of former famous dormant or extinct European brands, notably Lombardy's ALFA Lorena luxury sports brand, whose name and badge were sold to Hiendai by the Mazzotti family.

Toyota succeeded by creating a luxury new brand by giving it good design at a reasonable price. Knowing consumers would be reluctant to accept a new born luxury brand like they were with CMC’s expensive Findley, Nexus wasn’t supposed to give profits before ten years of existence. Hiendai relaunched ALFA Lorena with success manufacturing the cars in Corea and exporting them to Europe and North America. Nidji's Interniti brand wasn't so successful, struggling against Nexus competition at same market niche. In Europe Nidji acquired the automotive division of Saab Group.

Around 2000 several Japanese automakers started to delocalize their plants looking for cheaper production costs. This didn’t please Japanese workers and for the first time in decades there were strikes. Delocalization pursued even as workers protested. To bring some calm salaries and social benefits were increased. As result of delocalization automotive industry in Japan had for the first time since the Great Oriental War a production decrease in Saisei 51 (2002). Such tendency lasted three years, when production figures stabilized and Japan lost its second place to the NAL-SLC. Abroad Japanese makes also lost market share in China due to competition from the local automotive industry.

Miçubixi had difficult times during the 1990’s. Competition with other national car companies domestically and Chinese makers around East Asia made their sales figures decline fast. Miçubixi Heavy Industries, owner of Miçubixi Motors, negotiated in Gogaçu 1 (2005) the sale of the once large Japanese manufacturer to Dorris Motorworks. Since then Dorris Motorworks and Miçubixi Motors were merged and have worked together on upcoming models with new technologies as well remaking Miçubixi’s identity and public image into a sporty brand appealing to younger drivers.

Also Hiendai and Matta suffered sales decreases. Both having financial difficulties Hiendai was wholly acquired by Kïa Motors in Saisei 47 (1998) and Matta was partially acquired by National Motors Corporation (from NAL-SLC) in Consai 2 (2008). Merging Kïa to Hiendai resulted in the creation of the second largest Japanese automotive group. Only Toyota was larger.

During Consai 3 and 4 (2009 and 2010) Japan suffered one of the worst setbacks in its automotive history in decades. Due to supposed mechanical problems with Toyota models in several North American markets which resulted in several fatalities in the NAL-SLC and Louisianne, over one million cars were recalled in these countries and Australasia (the Australasian domestic market shares many of the models with North America as Australasians also like large cars), causing major damage to a reputation which took decades to build. Toyota’s sales figures decreased in export markets and the Kïa-Hiendai group became Japans’ largest automaker ending Toyota’s 50 years old supremacy. Toyota stopped production in several of its plants in the NAL-SLC, Louisianne, Australasia and Mejico during a week to coordinate activities. Toyota owners in North American and Australasian domestic markets were advised not to drive their cars until those mechanical problems were fixed by dealerships. Aquio Toyota, CEO of the company and grandson of its founder Saquitxi Toyota, made a public excuse to “families who lost their beloved due to accidents”. Three days later he reacted in a very Japanese way to the faults; he was found dead in a hotel in Edo after committing haraquiri. Eventually, however, it was found that most of the supposed accidents were caused by driver error rather than mechanical failures, restoring Toyota's reputation somewhat.

Today the Japanese automotive industry is one of the most prominent in the world. It’s currently the third largest in terms of production and second in terms of export volume. It’s also the largest exporter of second hand vehicles. Several left-hand traffic East Asian countries (notably in South China and some southeast asian countries) absorb a significant part of the old Japanese domestic cars.

In terms of sales figures worldwide the largest automotive makers can be divided into three groups: the Big Makers (Kïa-Hiendai, Toyota and Nacadjima), the Medium Makers (Tatxicawa, Suzuqui, Miçubixi, Dailim and Daiu) and the Small Makers (Maruxò, Isuzu, Hino, Honda, Ssañioñ, Samseñ and Matta).

Imports have a hard life in Japan. Decades of protectionism, local specifications and national pride have made the Japanese domestic market among the least affected by imported vehicles. Every year less than 5% of vehicles sold are made by foreign automakers. In recent years, as nationally made cars can’t be bigger than what is imposed by law, Japanese models have tended to explore possibilities to maximise inner space. Domestic market cars now tend to be boxy and van-styled, often offering modulable seats. Despite Japan's high standard of living, the tiny queidjidòxa remain the most popular type of car as parking a larger car in the large cities is like a nightmare, taxes for these cars are high and gasoline is expensive. Almost half of the cars sold in the empire belong to this class. Despite all the developments in the national automotive industry, public transportation (especially trains) is still the most popular method of transportation for the Japanese.

Ezoan automotive industry

In Ezo automotive industry born during early 1960’s. Basically they produced Russian licensed personal cars in tiny numbers. Trucks and buses made up most of production. After Ezo’s reincorporation into Japan those low quality vehicles were abandoned and replaced mostly by new or second hand ones made in Yamato or Corea. Surviving Ezoan vehicles are nowadays very hard to find due to recycling. Most which can still be found are in museums or in scrapyards. All local manufacturing facilities closed after Ezo was reincorporated in the empire.

Japanese domestic car marketing

During the mid-70’s major Japanese manufacturers started to create different car dealer networks, each one aimed at a different type of driver. It was mostly a reaction to increasing foreign cars imports in the empire. This led to a dramatic increase of nameplates among Japanese car makers as often the same car was sold with a different nameplate and feature set in each specialized network. Both in Yamato and Corea these networks were called stores, “ten” or “jejañ” in Japanese or Corean respectively.

Later these networks evolved into sub-brands (“sabu burando” in Japanese or “seby bylaindy” in Corean) as they increased their autonomy, by earning their own logos and increasing their “personality”. Nowadays these sub brands play a major role in domestic car marketing, although for export sub brands’ names aren’t used (with the exception of "captive exports"). These sub brands and their badge engineered cars are today a distinctive form of Japanese car marketing.

Sub brands are usually referred with two words names: first the name of the parent marque and second the sub-brand's own name. The exception is when marque and sub brand are the same word, which is common among the luxury sub brands such as Toyota.

Japanese owned car brands and domestic market sub brands

See also: Captive export

MarqueSub brandProductsNotes
Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota Djidòxa)
Toyota
Toyotalogo.png
Corolla (Caròra) economic cars
Toyopet (Toyopetto) conservative entry-level luxury cars
Vista (Bisuta) entry level luxury and sports cars
Toyota luxury cars
Land Cruiser (Rando Curùzà) off road cars
Stout (Sutauto) light commercial vehicles
Diesel (Dìzeru) medium and heavy commercial vehicles
Nexus
NexusLogo.jpg
luxury carsNot sold in Japan due to size restrictions. Major markets: North America,Gulf Leopards and Australasia
Nacadjima Motor Corporation (Nacadjima Djidòxa)
Nacadjima
NacadjimaLogo.jpg
Aitxi queidjidòxa cars
Daihaçu economic and middle class cars
Impreza (Inpuressa) sports cars
Nacadjima luxury cars
Pleiades (Pureadesu)
PleiadesLogo.jpg
”civilized” off road vehicles
Land Rover (Rando Ròbà) pure off road vehiclesCaptive imports. Rebadged English Land Rovers
Miçubixi Motors (Miçubixi Djidòxa)
Miçubixi
IBmitsubishi.PNG
Colt (Coruto) Queidjidòxa and small cars
Galant (Gyaran) middle class cars
Miçubixi luxury and sports cars
Pajero (Padjero) off road vehiclesrenamed as Montero in the Castellano-speaking countries due to Pajero being a sexual slang in Castellano.
Isuzu Motor Corporation (Izusu Djidòxa Cabuxiqui-caixa)
Isuzu Off-road and commercial vehiclesMarque with no sub brands.
Hino Motors (Hino Djidòxa)
Hino
HinoLogo.png
commercial vehiclesMarque with no sub brands.
Honda Motor Corporation (Honda Djidòxa Cabuxiqui-caixa)
Honda queidjidòxa and economic carsMarque with no sub brands. Also a motorcycle maker and has a policy of prohibiting their automobiles (but not motorcycles) to be used as taxis
Nidji Motor Corporation (Nidji Djidòxa Cabuxiqui-caixa)
Nidji
Nidjilogo.png
Òta
ÒtaLogo.png
middle class cars and light commercial vehicles
Nidji luxury cars
Dìzeru
NidjiDieselLogo.png
Medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles Known abroad as Nidji Diesel or ND Trucks
Iterniti
IternitiLogo.png
luxury carsNot sold in Japan due to size restrictions. Markets include North America.
SAAB
SAAB.jpg
luxury carsFormer automotive division from Sweddish SAAB Group. Not sold in Japan due to size restrictions.
Matta Motors (Maçuda Djidòxa)
Matta (Maçuda)
MattaLogo.png
Matta (Maçuda) middle class cars
Carol (Kyaroru) queidjidòxa and economic cars
Trade (Bòequi) commercial vehicles
Tatxicawa Motor Corporation (Tatxicawa Djidoxa Cabuxiqui-caixa)
Tatxicawa
TatxicawaLogo.png
Tatxicawa middle class cars
Prince (Ódji) luxury cars and commercial vehicles
Morris (Morisu) small carscaptive imports from English Leyland Group
Suzuqui Motor Corporation (Suzuqui Djidòxa Cabuxiqui-caixa)
Suzuqui Queidjidòxa and economic carsMarque with no sub brands. Also major motorcycle manufacturer
Maruxò Motor Corporation (Maruxò Djidòxa Cabuxiqui-caixa)
Maruxò
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Queidjidòxa and economic carsMarque with no sub brands. Also major motorcycle manufacturer
Kïa-Hiendai Automotive Group (K’ia-Hiendai Jadoñcha Gylub)
K’ia
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Kïa (K’ia) middle class and sporty cars
Brisa (Byrisa) small cars
Granto (Gyrainto) commercial vehicles
SS
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luxury carsFinancialy troubled English luxury marque acquired by Kïa-Hiendai Group in 2008
HiendaiHiendai middle class cars
Elantra (Eillantyla) small cars
Galloper (Gaillope) off road vehicles
ALFA Lorena
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luxury sports carsFormer Lombard sports car maker, victim of the Second Carquake. Production reborn in Corea for export purposes only. Not sold in Japan.
Daiu Motors (Daiu Jadoñcha)
Daiu
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Queidjidòxa and economic carsMarque with no sub brands
Dailim Motors (Dailim Jadoñcha)
Dailim
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Queidjidòxa and economic carsMarque with no sub brands. Also major motorcycle manufacturer
Ssañioñ Motors (Ssañioñ Jadoñcha)
Ssañioñ offroad and commercial vehiclesMarque with no sub brands.
Samseñ Motors (Samseñ Jadoñcha)
Samseñ Queidjidòxa and economic cars Marque with no sub brands. Subsidiary of the Samseñ conglomerate.
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