History of Japanese Automobile Industry

History of Japanese Automobile Industry

History of Japanese Automobile Industry


Japanese automobile industry is one of the well-known and largest industries in the world. Japanese automakers always focus on product enhancement, technological innovation, and safety improvement. By manufacturing vehicles that are reliable, safe and tough, Japanese makers are ruling the hearts of millions. From modest origins, today the Japanese auto industry has grown into one of the most respected and popular manufacturing industries in the world. The increase in demand for Japanese vehicles has increased the competition among vehicle manufacturers. To know about the success of Japan automobile industry, let’s learn from where they have started their journey.

The first entirely Japanese made-car was manufactured by Komanosuke Uchiyama in 1907. In 1904, Torao Yamaha built the first Japanese-made bus, with the seating capacity of 10 people. After the end of World War I, large numbers of companies with the support of the government and the Imperial Army started manufacturing military trucks. That eventually results in the starting of automobile companies such as Toyota, Nissan and marks the beginning of Japanese automobile industry. Toyota Jido Shokki, a weaving company founded its automobile department in the 1933 and named it Toyota. In the same year, Nissan was established by a growing company named Nihon Sangyo.


During World War II, the automobile department of Japan was mainly in the production of military and industrial trucks, buses. After the WW II, Japanese companies were allowed to produce only a limited number of trucks. Toyota during that period lost almost all its assets and went bankrupt. During Korean War, contracts were given to the company for military vehicles and repairs. This helped Toyota to survive the crises.


During 1955, the production of cars by Japanese makers increases. At the same time, the restriction was imposed on importation of vehicles by the government. Since the Japan’s car market at that particular time was not very vast, thus many countries did not oppose the restriction. Under the guidance of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the Japanese automobile industry started to flourish. In 1953, the numbers of vehicles manufactured were 10,000, but the number reached to 20,000 in 1955. By the end of 1950s, Japan began to export vehicles to different countries every year, but the number includes only few hundred. In the year 1961, for the very first time, the numbers of used cars exported achieved 10,000. And by `70, Japan started to export around million of vehicles across many countries around the world. In the beginning of the export process, Japanese vehicles were not so popular, but eventually due to their superb quality and low prices, these vehicles began to make their place. Consequently, the 1973 oil crises increased the popularity of Japanese cars in the global market as vehicles developed by them have smaller engine and are fuel-efficient.


During 1970s popularity of Japanese vehicles increases in Britain and U.S. Mitsubishi and Honda were popular Japanese brands in the U.S. while in Britain, Nissan became a popular maker. During this period, the export of the car was real high. By manufacturing cost-effective and affordable vehicles, by the year 2000 Japan became one of the largest vehicle manufacturing nations across the world. Even though with the strong competition from South Korea, China, India, and many other countries, Japan car industry continued to thrive.


After the 1990s, during Japan’s long recession period, the automobile industry continues to maintain its international competitiveness. This was due to Japanese automakers production approaches and development plans.



Japanese makers are leading in every aspect of automobiles, may it be technology, sales, production. Around six out of ten leading car makers in the world are Japanese makers. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi are few popular Japanese car makers. Japanese automakers started from the very beginning to reach a place where they are. The major automaker, Toyota Motor Corporation started as a division of Toyota Automatic Loom Works for commercial weaving applications in Koromo. Later on the company was hired by the Japanese government for manufacturing cost-effective cars for military purposes. For the past three decades, Toyota has manufactured 3 million units a year in Japan only. However, overseas production has grown to 5 million units annually from 200,000 units in the 1980s. Likewise, Nissan Motor Company Ltd, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and others are also major automobile producers in Japan. The Japan automobile industry is known across the world for its innovative ideas, attractive designs, quality and use of latest technologies. There is no doubt that Japanese vehicles are clearly leading in the race to capitalize on the automobile market of various countries.


Share post