In the automotive industry, Americans seem to love the Japanese. But the Japanese do not seem to love Americans back. Japanese brands sell exceptionally well in the United States. Some of the best-selling automakers in America are from Japan, and their cars seem to dominate entire sections in sales. Japanese automakers market many cars in the U.S. that they hire vast numbers of Americans to work in factories around the country. Japanese automakers make a third of all the vehicles made in the U.S. But the Japanese don’t seem to be involved in America’s SUVs, pickup trucks, muscle cars.
Ford left Japan completely in 2017. General Motors keeps a small appearance there, the largest U.S. auto manufacturer sold only 700 cars in Japan in 2018. While there are no Japanese taxes on U.S. imports, a number of experts say there are all kinds of technological barriers that make it more difficult for U.S. companies to sell in Japan. But according to some experts, the reason American cars collapse in japan relies on the Japanese customer tastes, and outdated stereotypes the Japanese have about the quality of American cars, and the very distinctive way consumers shop for vehicles in Japan.
Japanese brands completely control local roads. More than 95 percent of all cars sold in the country are their own. Imports make up the rest and most of those are higher-end European luxury vehicles and sports cars. This is somewhat because the Japanese have many specific needs. For one thing, space is strangely tight. Wildly successful in Japan are these Kei cars, which are tiny vehicles favored by drivers who have to drive their way through narrow streets and crowded cities. Kei Cars only make up 40 percent of the Japanese market and U.S. automakers don’t make them.
Many of the Japanese vehicles marketed in America, from sedans such as the Toyota Camry all the way up to the pickups, are not even particularly common in Japan. All three Detroit automakers have less than 1 percent of market share. One of the bestsellers, Jeep, only sells about 10,000 vehicles in Japan a year.
Much of the Japanese business society is built around service and hospitality, and auto dealerships are no different. Japanese dealerships offer customers nearly luxury service, and the way buyers choose cars is completely different from the traditional buying experience in the U.S. Whereas American shoppers will often pick a car from what is available on a dealer lot, Japanese buyers can usually custom-build a car out of a catalog and then have it made for them in weeks. A strong local equipment chain and local factories allow Japanese automakers to do this. Foreign automakers overall have had difficulty adjusting to this way of selling.
The Japanese grew to power in the auto industry in large part on their reputation for making solid, efficient cars that don’t break down. Even though American autos have done a lot to meet the reliability gap over the years, and cars overall are able to drive far more miles on the road than they did even 10 years ago. And U.S. automakers are sure that they would be better able to compete in Japan if the country eliminates barriers that make doing business complicated.