The rise of the Japanese auto industry is fascinating in many ways. It started with humble beginnings, build cars based on American and European models with limited success. Despite heavy government investment, Japan’s primary market was dominated by much more developed American manufacturers who built their factories across the country. However, after World War II and its initial collapse, the Japanese economy began to grow exponentially and demand for motor vehicles followed.
An increasing number of domestic manufacturers began to compete for their market share. Companies like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Subaru and Isuzu have fought to find the most efficient way to develop and sell their cars while creating some of the most innovative and forward thinking vehicles in the automotive world. Once small and underdeveloped, the Japanese auto industry quickly became known for building cheap and reliable cars, which posed a huge threat to their US and European competition and even justified import quotas from many countries. .
The increase in exports from Japanese manufacturers and the differences between national and export requirements soon gave birth to JDM cars. The term JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market and basically encompasses all cars intended for sale exclusively in Japan. Even though JDM cars were not intended for export, they quickly caught the interest of many car enthusiasts around the world.
But what makes JDM cars so captivating and must-see for oil enthusiasts outside of the land of the rising sun?
A different approach to automotive manufacturing
When most people talk about JDM, they imagine legendary sports cars that make great tuning platforms for car enthusiasts. Notorious models like Nissan GTR, Honda NSX and Toyota Supra are the first that come to mind.
These exciting road rockets played a crucial role in changing the public perception of the Japanese auto industry during the 1980s and 1990s. The Japanese went from being known for building cheap, simple cars to being rented out. for their advanced engineering ability which has created some of the coolest cars ever made.
The informal gentleman’s agreement between Japanese automakers concluded in the mid-1970s implied that no production car they made would have more than 280 horsepower. This, in turn, meant that most cars built around this time had engines capable of producing much more power than they came out of the factory.
The enormous potential of these engines has created a booming demand for aftermarket parts in Japan, where gasoline enthusiasts have always been known to customize their cars to make them unique. The most extreme of them were curious about how far they could push their engines, creating beasts that developed over 1,000 horsepower.
So many unique cars to choose from
The meteoric boom in the auto industry in Japan can be attributed to its large number of competing car manufacturers with different approaches and philosophies. From Kei cars and trucks to boxy sedans and wagons. Whether you want a high-revving roadster, a super-manoeuvrable hatchback, a comfortable limousine, or a mid-engined supercar, the Japanese have it all.
While cars like Mazda RX7, Nissan GT-R or Honda NSX are constantly gaining in value and are no longer available to most gasoline enthusiasts, many JDM models like Honda Civic, Mazda Miata, Toyota Celica and Nissan Sylvia have acquired a cult. around the world to be an affordable way to go really fast.
But not all JDM cars are made to go fast. Most JDM cars have been built with the specific problems and requirements of the domestic market in mind. An average Japanese car buyer has different needs and preferences than American or European customers. In order to meet these needs, Japanese automakers have had to take a different approach to car manufacturing than their foreign rivals.
In fact, some of the more interesting and unique JDM cars are small Kei cars with small engines. These cars have been specially designed to keep car taxes as low as possible and to be affordable for the Japanese public. Their small size makes them exceptionally practical in crowded Japanese cities where every inch of space is important.
Jewels of a bygone era
The main reason JDM cars have achieved such legendary status in the automotive community is their combination of originality and inaccessibility. In an age when many new cars are built on similar platforms and become harder and harder to tell apart, standing out is getting harder and more expensive than before.
Most of the popular JDM models around the world represent the heyday of automotive manufacturing in Japan, which spawned rides meant to make owners smile and enjoy the genius and excitement of engineering. of the teams who built them.
There are many Japanese cars available for car enthusiasts all over the world, but none of them are as original and different as the JDM models. At the end of the day, it’s not just about owning an amazing car, it’s about owning an amazing car that you weren’t meant to own in the first place.
NEXT: 10 Classic JDM Cars You Probably Never Heard Of
Mitsubishi Monteros visits Manson family lair at Barker Ranch
About the Author