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First Japanese Car

The first Japanese car in the history of the world carries some controversy and mystery with it. Some say the first Japanese car is the Yamaba omnibus built in 1904 and powered by steam. Others say the first car built in Japan was the Yoshida omnibus built in 1905 powered by a gasoline engine.

First Japanese Car

The automobile industry of Japan is known worldwide for its charming designs, innovative models, standard of quality, and use of advance technology. Though the first Japanese car came into existence years after cars were used in America and Europe, Japanese auto brands, such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi, are household names for car lovers worldwide.

The Japanese automakers now lead the world in sales, technological changes, and production. Six of ten leading car producers in the world are from Japan. They also lead in collaborations and provide technical support to auto industry around the world.

Japanese Domestic Car Industry

The automobile industry in Japan began taking shape in the early part of 1910 when the Japanese conglomerate known as Zaibatsu came into being. However, the nonexistent consumer car market delayed the production of cars until 1917 when Mitsubishi manufactured Model A, the first Japanese production car. This seven-seat sedan was expensive and failed to compete with US and European cars. In 1922, Isuzu came up with its first Japanese car A 9 in collaboration with British auto gaint Wolseley. It was the first ever dedicated passenger car in Japan.

The1930s saw the emergence of a number of car manufacturers in Japan, such as Toyota, Suzuki, and Nissan. Toyota's first Japanese car Toyota AA hit the road in 1936. Datson by DAT Motors, now Nissan, was the first Japanese small car produced in 1931.

Mitsubishi Model A

The post-war period saw boom in car production in Japan. Suzuki introduced Suzulight in 1955, the first Japanese car that came with innovative four-wheel independent suspension, front-wheel drive, and pinion steering. In the 1960s, Japanese auto giants focused on smaller cars called Kei cars to evade taxes and boost imports. Honda produced its first car HondaS500 in 1963. Three years later, the world saw Toyota's Corolla, which is the best-selling car in the world.

In 1986, Honda introduced the first Japanese luxury car Acura. Soon Suzuki and Toyota came up with more designs, while Nissan began focusing only on high end cars.

Japanese Cars in US

Toyota was the first Japanese car maker to enter the US market. The oil crisis in the 1970s was an opportunity for Japanese auto makers to entrench themselves in the United States. Their small, inexpensive, and fuel efficient cars attracted a large number of Americans and Europeans. They also equally benefited from the economic boom in the 1980s by introducing luxury cars that had less price and better technology compared to US car manufacturers.

Toyota Crown was the first Japanese car to be imported to the United States in 1957. The Japanese auto giants established their US manufacturing units in the early eighties. Honda's Accord was the first Japanese car to be built in the United States in 1982.
Toyota introduced Prius in 1997 to become the first Japanese car maker capable to produce hybrid cars. The global sales of the car began in 2001. Honda produced world's fist zero emission and hydrogen car FCX in 2008.

Japanese Car Industry at Present

The Japanese car industry has come a long way since the production of the first Japanese car in 1917. Now their cars run in every country and Japan is the second largest manufacturer of cars. Toyota is the world's largest car manufacturer, and Honda has five out of ten most fuel-efficient cars in the world.