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How to distinguish a car made in Japan with the naked eye

History of car manufacturing

Car manufacturers are a true reflection of their society, their culture, and their tastes. Aspects to which the social and political context is added at the moment of its creation. But what are the characteristics of Japanese models? Are they really recognizable at first sight?

How to distinguish a car made in Japan with the naked eye

To mention Japanese cars means to talk about technology , where modernity and great advances go hand in hand with a reliability capable of surprising anyone. Comfort and safety have also been highlighted, in which the Japanese manufacturers have put forward the experience of the driver and passengers over any other criteria when designing their models.

When we talk about the Japanese automotive industry we refer to one of the most important worldwide, specifically from 1960 where the country of the Rising Sun managed to be located within the countries with the largest production of cars, surpassing a power like Germany. A situation that was due to the firm commitment of the Japanese government and a number of companies, such as Toyota , which have continuously revolutionized the outlook of the engine in much of the planet by manufacturing models capable of offering extraordinary reliability and performance .

In addition, the fact of coming from large and busy cities make their vehicles light, stable and manageable with efficient braking and agile to face curves. Even today, when talking about Japanese cars , efficiency, safety, and performance are common characteristics .

The origins of the Japanese automobile

The manufacture of automobiles in Japan has its origins in the early 1900s, specifically in repair shops and bicycle manufacturing. Initially, Japan’s automotive industry was very close to that of the US until it began its own path in 1930 when it would increase annual production to 20,000 units.

Six years later, the government would approve the Automobile Manufacturing Industry Law, with the aim of trying to break the North American monopoly. Precisely in the shadow of this law were born companies like Toyota .

How to distinguish a car made in Japan with the naked eye

With World War II Japanese industry was reduced and in the mid-50s, specifically in 1955, the Japanese government would take measures to resume the domestic market of cars, given the importance of this sector in the economy of the country.

During that time the vehicles would be characterized by being small, low consumption and at an affordable price.

In the mid-90s, Japanese cars enter the high-end market, to compete with European manufacturers, especially Germans, although with Japanese engines. This was also a time of more risky betting on sports cars . The Japanese manufacturers managed to place a series of high-performance models in Europe and the US, which directly competed with the sports cars par excellence of that time, as was the case of the Toyota Supra . A GT 2 + 2 with longitudinal and powerful rear propulsion with an elegant and futuristic line. Its bi-turbo version of 326 HP was the most powerful for sale in the United States .

The phenomenon of the ‘key cars’

The Japanese car market suffers its particular explosion between the 60s and 70s, beginning its international journey with a lot of repercussions. Its engines combine power and efficiency . They are lightweight mechanics and small in size, which does not prevent them from being powerful, thanks to the fact that they have advanced electronic systems worldwide that help to render the engine.

How to distinguish a car made in Japan with the naked eye

The problems of congestion in the 70s lead to the development of so-called ‘ key cars ‘, small and light cars with square designs, very narrow wheels that look almost like a bicycle and three-cylinder engines . These cars belong to a tax category of vehicles, born after the Second World War when the Japanese could not buy a car, although they had a budget for a bicycle. For European parameters, these vehicles are equivalent to a segment A utility and are distinguished by their yellow number plate.

From the 80s, Japan becomes a car power for manufacturing materials used by major brands, as well as production systems. Towards the end of these years, compact vans with a square body are born , which make they’re interior very usable. They also had a very affordable price.

Pioneers in the construction of hybrids

Since the beginning of 2000 Japanese cars have changed the characteristics of their models by others that were not the usual ones. Thus they left aside the most economic models in a bid for design and equipment , which distinguishes them from their competitors. To all this is added the use of new technologies in the engines, which have led Japanese manufacturers to have the most innovative bets in the sector.

How to distinguish a car made in Japan with the naked eye

A good example of this is the construction of hybrid cars, in which the Japanese brands have marked the way forward. Companies like Toyota have achieved an important sales niche in this section. Its secret has been none other than knowing how to adapt to the needs of users by offering very competitive vehicles in terms of price, quality, and technical innovation .

Models such as the Toyota Prius , the hybrid par excellence of the market, have marked a before and after in this segment. A model that stands out for its unique wedge design body that presents a new and pronounced fall from the rear wing to the bumper. Neither goes unnoticed those torn frontal optics , typical of the Japanese models, front in the form of boomerang and behind, with a LED strip in red to reach the fins.

How to distinguish a car made in Japan with the naked eye

In short, a compact design , which apart from improving its aerodynamics with an avant-garde aesthetic , does not lose the essence of its three predecessor generations, making it even more attractive. All these features make the Toyota Prius a very recognizable model at first sight of design as bold as risky .

The Toyota Prius was the pioneer, but nowadays Toyota’s hybrid model offer reaches virtually every segment, from the urban Yaris to the RAV4 hybrid SUV, to the compact Auris hybrid, the Prius + minivan, the familiar Auris hybrid TOuring Sports or the Toyota C-HR compact crossover.

About Nick Fury

Hi, I am Nick! Apart from being a loving husband and a father of one, I dedicate myself to manage a company full time. Writing is my passion, I started writing a blog some 10 years ago, now reviving this passion again, I would love to express my views and takes on day to day stuff, hope you guys enjoy! Do share your thoughts.

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