Why Ford And Other American Cars Don’t Sell In Japan


When it comes to cars, Americans
seem to love the Japanese. But the Japanese don’t seem
to love Americans back. Japanese brands sell remarkably well
in the United States. Several of the best-selling automakers in
America are from Japan, and their products seem to dominate entire
segments in sales and critical acclaim. Japanese automakers sell so
many cars in the U.S. that they actually employ vast numbers
of American workers in factories around the country. Japanese automakers actually build a third of
all the vehicles made in the U.S. But the Japanese don’t seem
to be interested in America’s SUVs, pickup trucks, muscle cars or just
about any vehicle made by Detroit. Ford left Japan entirely in 2017. General Motors keeps a presence there, but
it is tiny — the largest U.S. automaker sold only 700 cars
in Japan in 2018. And people are divided as to why
and what, if anything, should be done about it. President Donald Trump has criticized the
imbalance, but so have U.S. automotive trade associations, who
blame Japanese protectionism. While there are no
Japanese tariffs on U.S. imports, a number of critics say there
are all kinds of technical barriers that make it harder for U.S. companies to sell in Japan. Here in the United States, when we
set regulations for fuel economy or safety or communications standards or whatever,
all of the automakers that sell and produce in the United
States are party to that conversation. In Japan, it’s a much more
closed process for regulatory compliance. It’s “these are the rules and
you will meet the rules.” Japanese producers have input into that
and suppliers, but it’s pretty closed to any external companies that
would be doing business there. But some industry experts say
that really isn’t the problem. Instead, the reasons U.S. cars are so rare in Japan, which
is the world’s third-largest car market, have more to do with Japanese
consumer tastes, the abiding if outdated stereotypes the Japanese have about the
quality of American cars, and the very different way customers shop
for vehicles in Japan. It is first important to note
that Japanese brands all but completely dominate local roads. More than 95 percent of all cars
sold in the country are Japanese. Imports make up the balance and
most of those are higher-end European luxury vehicles and sports cars. This is partly because the
Japanese have pretty specific needs. For one thing, space
is incredibly tight. Wildly popular in Japan are these
so-called Kei cars, which are tiny vehicles preferred by drivers who have
to thread their way through narrow streets and crowded cities. Kei Cars alone make up
40 percent of the Japanese market and U.S. automakers don’t make them. Americans, on the other hand, tend
to excel in making big vehicles, particularly pickup trucks and
large sport utilities. In recent years, American automakers have
scaled back or even entirely killed off their own lines of
compact vehicles, which are often still bigger than their
Japanese counterparts. In fact, many of the Japanese vehicles
sold in America — from sedans such as the Toyota Camry all the way up
to the pickups — are not even particularly popular in Japan. All three Detroit automakers have less
than 1 percent market share. One of the bestsellers, Jeep, sells about
10,000 vehicles in Japan a year. The Japanese car buying experience would
also likely shock many Americans, who often view a trip to the
dealership as one of life’s necessary evils. Much of Japanese business culture is
built around service and hospitality, and auto dealerships
are no exception. Japanese dealerships offer customers nearly
white glove service, and the way buyers choose cars is entirely
different from the traditional buying experience in the U.S. Whereas American shoppers will often choose
a car from what is available on a dealer lot, Japanese buyers can
often custom-build a car out of a catalog and then have it made for
them in a matter of weeks. A strong local supply chain and
local factories allow Japanese automakers to do this. Furthermore, quality of service
is often quite high. Dealerships frequently have amenities such
as cafes and complimentary car washes. They will also follow up
with customers sometimes even years after a purchase. Foreign automakers overall have had difficulty
adapting to this way of selling. Moreover, the Japanese have
longstanding perceptions of American cars as inefficient and unreliable. This somewhat outdated view originates in
the decades from the 1960s through the 1980s, when Japanese
brands were ascending and American automakers were plagued with criticism and
scandal over vehicles such as the Chevrolet Vega, the AMC Gremlin,
the Ford Pinto and the Chevrolet Corvair. And though American manufacturers have
made far more fuel-efficient engines in recent years, the U.S. has historically made some gas guzzlers
when compared with cars made elsewhere. Yeah, I think there is
a hangover for American vehicles. You know, what does an American
car say about you in Japan. That baggage is carried with that. Meanwhile, the Japanese rose to power in
the auto industry in large part on their reputation for building solid, efficient
cars that don’t break down. Of course, many observers note that American
autos have done a lot to close the reliability gap over the years,
and cars overall are able to log far more miles on the road than
they did even a decade ago. And U.S. automakers are adamant that they would be
better able to compete in Japan if the country removes barriers
that make doing business difficult. The trouble for Detroit is that Japan
is just one of the international markets where U.S. automakers have struggled. All three Detroit automakers have had
challenges in South America and Europe. While China which is the world’s
largest car market could become a tougher place to do business
with slowing economic growth, increased competition, and trade disputes. If something doesn’t change, U.S. automakers could become just that: American
companies that sell trucks and SUVs to Americans.

100 thoughts on “Why Ford And Other American Cars Don’t Sell In Japan

  1. Why do you think American cars don't sell in Japan? Protectionism? Reliability? Vehicle size? Lack of dealer support?

    Is it worthwhile for U.S. companies to invest in the Japanese market?

  2. Gee i wonder why, is it because they mount a ridiculously huge engine bigger then the japanesee average houses, which gulps petrol like there's no tomorrow?

  3. Americans should know that the rest of the world doesn't drive those big ass trucks.
    Idk why americans are obsessed with making gigantic fuel guzzler vehicles rather than making some practical things. The world doesn't run on $0.6-0.7/lit.

  4. I used second hand Jeep Grand Chorekee diesel 3.1 lt 2000 model once upon a time only for 4 mouths. During these period I have spend more money than to buy and I have learnt many things about engine terms and American cars imfamous. All American car brands and British car brands except Ford are unreliable.

  5. American cars are generally not well received in Asia. In India, Chevy introduced a bunch of Chinese cars with the Chevy logo slapped on the grille. 4 years later, by 2016 they were out of the market. Ford is the only American brand that has been going steady here. But Japanese and Korean cars are highly trusted!

  6. Reliability has gone up with US made cars over the last years. They are not as bad as they once were, cept maybe those damn fiestas.

  7. Start looking on what the consumers really want?
    And this video only showing Tokyo's wide roads, where in reality in Japan there's many roads in Japan which is super tight in corners in the residential areas, a lot of traffic lights, hills and small parking garages.
    That's why we prefer kei cars for normal commute to nearby shopping mall, and if a family has many family members they will buy a MPV.

  8. Maybe it's because this preposterous nonsense isn't rolled into the cost of the other cars sold in Japan.  Her (GM CEO) total compensation was $21.96 million — about 295 times as much as GM's median employee. That's actually a drop from 2016, when she was compensated $22.58 million.

  9. nah its def cause American cars r HUGE they r made for heavy hauling while Japanese cars are tiny, efficient because many city streets in japan r also tiny.

  10. When I lived in Tokyo I seen a Camaro and quite a few Jeeps, but mostly a lot of Bentley's, Mercedes, BMW's, etc.

  11. Japan is called a graveyard for foreign products.
    Hyundie sold about 10 cars in entire Japan and decided to pull out business from Japan.
    However, it seems like Japan loves American corns.
    PM Abe decided to buy 10B corns from Trump.
    : )

  12. Japan is need a small car, but american automaker just selling the Truck and Suv thats why it's never gow worth for japanese people. In my country Indonesia American brand is expensive and very hard to repair because the spare part is rare

  13. If there wasn’t a gas crisis we would still have full size American cars with a good ol v8😥

  14. American brands also didn't work in India. Chevrolet packed their bags. Ford is struggling.

  15. Just make the god damn r34 legal and maybe more people in Japan will buy American cars

  16. Today’s American cars are just as reliable and well-engineered as anything from Japan or Germany. Sorry, but anyone who thinks otherwise is either an anti-American or someone relying on old stigma.

  17. Well basicly Japanese car makers only sell kei cars in Japan, i been around south asia for 5 years, and the smallest cars they sell here, are the Mazda Two sedan, Honda jazz and the Nissan… blue nissan.

  18. Hmm. let's see. In Japan, I have the choice of driving a very expensive car that I have to buy, put expensive gas in it because oil is traded in US dollars, pay for parking, sit in traffic, and pay taxes on it , or take a high speed train for far less. Gee, this is tough one 🙂

  19. Because American cars are big, inefficient, too wide for japanese roads and expensive to import compared to japanese cars. And also, if a Japanese want a luxury sedan, they will bring German cars.

  20. Lol. GMC and Chrysler in denial of the fact that a lot of their cars have a horrible reliability record

  21. The thing is that asian cultures are more disciplined, conservative, and so on. They know how to provide friendly service. They have a balanced system versus our american system.

  22. In Japan, there is an expensive inspection every 5 years, and it's impossible to aprove it, so basicaly, you're forced to renew your car every 5 years. That's another reason of why they prefer kei cars

  23. Most people dont choose product, they choose country. unless they dont have choices.

  24. I drive a Toyota (Japan) and my mom drives a Hyundai (Korea) and they rarely ever breakdown or have problems in general….My dad on the other hand drives a Mercury by GM and it is always breaking down or has some annoying issue.

  25. its more than just perception, American Cars ARE worse compared to their Japanese counterparts when it comes to build and reliability.

  26. The high end Silverado and Sierra has more plastic than my kids toys,plus it's kind of weird that those high end gm trucks are put together in mexico,when the lower end trucks are made in the U.S.

  27. Okay who else is up for customization from the dealership? Come on North America lets get our ass together and start at it.

  28. it’s the same situations with us in Korea, I’m half korean, half white. Half my life was spent in Korea, and we all drive Kia, Hyundai, Genesis, or any other Korean brands. We don’t really see that many American cars on the road where I am

  29. Not only cars most of the products. Because of Hiroshima Nagasaki they decently hide their sorrow in nationalism….

  30. Fail on brasil too. Iam brasilian and sad for it. Pick ups american is excellents. Big trucks too. Because Oversize no can be used in brasil. :') no problem. I go imigrate and use american ram 5500 in U.S.A. FINE MY IDEA ?

  31. Japan market is really small, even not as big as one state of China, US vehicle manufacturers should focus on China market, now more and more Chinese realize that US Cars are not as reliable as Japanese cars, such as Chrysler Ford's Fiat are losing China market, look at what happened to NY Taxes, they're changing in Japanese cars gradually. Without reliability improve I am afraid US vehicle manufacturers and France vehicle manufacturers will lose the market. What's wrong with the management of US vehicle manufacturers

  32. You failed to mention the sole reason Japanese cars came to prominence in America: the Arab oil embargo.

  33. After realizing that we actually imported the Chevy Cavalier over there in the 90s, I don't blame them at all.

  34. Japanese are extremely patriotic, that together with the fact the US cars not as reliable or fuel efficient.

  35. Theres another reason american cars dont sell well in Europe and asia. Thats because its a different infrastructural landscape. In australia we are similar to america where our houses are big, streets are wide and our neighbourhoods look like american neighbourhoods. Aussies either love their own build cars like holdens or they love american built cars from ford. America likes to build their cars big and spacey which is the same as Australia and thats why we like to buy either our own or american.

  36. The video doesn’t point out how U.S. automakers manipulated customers in this country beginning in the 1990s that everything bigger is better. To this day, it still puzzles me why urbanized professionals feel the need to own gigantic pickup trucks or SUVs merely to commute in, run errands, or show off their status.

  37. Because none of American manufacturers make small 660cc 3 cylinder turbocharged engines to put in kei-cars. That is what the Japanese need. Gasoline prices are so expensive in Japan. V8 gas guzzler trucks wont work there.
    Plus there is also half-arsed effort right hand drive conversion . Japan is a right hand drive country like UK. I will say even French cars does this. You open up the glove box, you will be shocked to see the giant fuse box occupy a large amount of space actually meant for the glove box compartment. Just relocate the damn fuse box as well please if you are going to do a proper right hand drive conversion. E-brake as well, put it close to the driver rather than passenger please.

  38. Kei Cars Should Be Sold In UK 🇬🇧 Australia 🇦🇺 New Zealand 🇳🇿 South Africa 🇿🇦 And Many Left Side Driving Countries

  39. Ford Focus ST!! Please Come back to North America, and kick big dirty asses of those ugly Pick up and SUV!

  40. Japan and many other countries. The secret is: people, for a strange reason, prefer good quality car.

  41. Common reason is not just fuel efficiency or small parking space. But tonnes of reason.. most of them are about narrow road. They're annual income/tax/regulation n bla bla bla reason.. you should think n see what they need in priority n they're demand too. Don't be such in high demanding n ignore what other thinks for you. "Think outside of the box..be humble n be a good listener if you care "

  42. The 2011 Ford Crown Victoria is the best American car I know even tho it's a V8 so it cost a lot when you fill it up with gas

  43. I drove Cadillac, Ford, and Chevy most of my life. Let me tell you, Ford makes a hell of a truck, Chevy has the style cornered, and Cadillac, well, that’s just a showboat with overheating problems.

    Asian cars are ridiculously economical, simple, easy to fix, and they last forever.

    Went and bought an old 94 Camry with 260,000 miles and well for a broke guy, this thing runs like new.

  44. 20 years ago Ford sold 80,000 cars a year in Japan. Mostly SUVs and trucks but now that the Japanese make those and better Japanese buy them instead. If you see the type of non-Japanese cars that Japanese buy they are luxury European cars. European companies like Volkswagen, French companies, Fiat and many other do not sell a lot of cars in Japan. There are people in Japan that love American Muscle cars but they are very few. They are very loyal fans though and you can find them in certain Japanese cities. You will be walking in a Japanese street and then come by a ton of American Muscle cars parked all over the place, blew my mind the first time I saw it.

  45. Quality/reliability/ technology/cutting edge design and comfort…things most American autos sadly lack..

  46. I can tell you why. Cuz they are crap. Why buy something that is going to break in 3-5 years?

  47. I'm pretty sure if I ever drove my Ford F-150 around in Japan it'd be like sailing a barge in a canal full of kayaks. An absolutely horrible idea but the kind of bad idea I'd want to try anyway.

  48. Because American cars are unreliable, and poorly made. Not hard to figure out.

  49. Crying that people aren't buying their cars without doing anything for that market or trying to make there keit cars. Face it American cars are just a pain.

  50. Because the train is the most popular mode of land transportation. We should do the same in America.

  51. Is it because in ww2 we droped 2 bombs on 2 citys in Japan and scared the crap out of every other country, is that why people dont like our cars

  52. A quality reputation takes a long time to develop, is so easy to lose, and takes a much longer time period (IF AT ALL) to recover. That, in a nutshell, is the problem with American cars, not only in Japan, but everywhere! I own a 1983 BMW 320i with 200,000 miles on it: other that the AC and radiator, it's still original systems everywhere! What American car can do as well? Answer: none!

    There was an engineer named E. Edward Demming who preached quality assurance here, and was ignored because it would cost a bit extra.After WW2 he went to Japan, where they adopted the concept, and he's worshiped there. As the video, we will end up making American cars for Americans, while the rest of the world runs off and leaves us in a cloud of dust (and particulates)!

  53. The lack of regulations and the low fuel prices in the US are coming back to bite Americans. Otherwise there would be more innovation.

  54. 700 cars ? Why would they stick around for a mere 700 cars a year? Seems like a huge money loss

  55. This reason in this video isn't the true reason ! It's really because they hate us, that's why they won't buy our cars !

  56. Of course the myth of the fuel efficient Japanese vehicle is destroyed by such products as the Toyota Land Cruiser and its way overpriced Lexus sibling, the Toyota 4Runner and Nissan Armada. And there were controversial Japanese cars such as the Prius which is a death trap due to their unintended accelerations.

  57. Actual reason is far different from what has been portrayed in video.
    Same thing is happening to American car manufacturers in India also.
    Real Reason:
    American car manufacturers' marketing team and design team are to be blamed for this as they are terribly failing to do their jobs and research properly.
    1: American car design teams are somehow not able to understand the likings of Asian markets and what design Asian people like.
    While their Asian and German competitors launch new cars with fluidic and modern designs. Hence they are able to capture the market well outside US.
    Meanwhile American manufacturers launch their newly designed cars after 6-7 months following their Asian competitors' launch. And Asians become the trend setter in local market and American designer becomes the trend follower.

    2: American car marketing teams are under impression that their brand will do the rest of marketing and no real ground work is required. While their competitors are light years ahead in terms of marketing at root levels and in terms of fancy offers and pricing.

    3: Americans don't supply same cars designs as in USA to other nations, rather they modify them to unappealing designs and with lower specs and then sell in other markets. For eg: take any US Ford car model and compare the same to the model available in other countries. Difference will be Apples and oranges.

    All the above points keep American Car manufacturers far behind their competitors in Asian and European markets. And it's foolish for American Manufacturers to wonder where they went wrong and blame the people instead.

  58. What makes you think that US car is reliable nowadays…
    To be practical, being reliable is much more important than being having high-horse power and crazy size.

  59. Ford makes the best vehicles in the world. During the recession they needed no bail out. Prove me wrong.

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