Japanese Cars Suck!

Japanese Cars Suck!

by Mike Kojima

As a hardcore Japanese car enthusiast, it pains me to write this. I have seen the Japanese car phenomena go full circle first hand. When I was a little kid adults used to snicker at the funny little weird crap boxes that were first imported from Japan by Datsun, Toyota and then Honda. The cars were small, underpowered and quirky. There were some standouts like the Datsun 240Z, the Toyota 2000GT and 510 that were pretty cool cars but for the most part, no one cared.

Then, the oil crisis hit in 1973.  The newly formed OPEC oil cartel put an embargo on oil exports to the US and all of a sudden the days of cheap gas were over. Overnight, suddenly everyone cared about efficiency and fuel economy. The big three in Detroit were blindsided by the rise in oil prices as the free market price of crude oil rose from 3 dollars a gallon to 12 in one swift stroke.


The AE86 Corolla was the epitome of the fun to drive, cheap, high quality and good looking Japanese compact car.  My GTS Corolla was $8700 brand new in 1985. I wish I never sold it.
In contrast, the modern Corolla is bloated, ugly and boring looking with a trying too hard to look stylish front fascia that is just gross.  At least it is still high quality. At least Toyota brought out the 86 to try to capture some of the spirit of the AE86.  I am surprised that they got it.  For the most part, Toyota seems clueless on how to build appealing cars nowadays. They are good at making high-quality appliances, in which the best attribute is not driving pleasure, but having a lack of annoying qualities.  

In the background, the Japanese car makers Toyota, Datsun (Nissan) and Honda were quietly at work diligently improving their cars. The Japanese culture of Kaizen, which means continual improvement, and the national embracing of the process control doctrines of  Edward Deming (the father of modern quality assurance) by all Japanese industry boosted quality to world class levels. This meant that the once scorned moniker, “Made in Japan,” started to mean superior products of the highest quality instead of cheap junk.  

The Japanese car makers all set up US headquarters and started to study the US market in earnest and began producing cars that better suited American tastes. The Japanese added more power, features and luxury appointments that were still efficient. These second wave Japanese cars hit the market just as the the OPEC embargo fell. Suddenly the fat and arrogant Domestic automakers had competition!  


The Toyota SW20 MR-2 was good looking, decent performing, decently priced and high quality. We miss Toyotas like that.
The Toyota Celica spanned 6 generations of affordable sporty cars with decent performance and practicality. Toyota killed the line to replace it with a bunch of anonymous and boring transportation appliances.
The MKIV Supra represents the peak of the Japanese Supercar era. This was Toyota's flagship back in the day, and although expensive for a Toyota, it had exotic beating performance for half of the cost of a Porsche- with better quality. Now, I think Toyota's flagship is an Avalon or something. Yawn. Not even my retired father and his golf buddies would be caught in a boring car like that. Maybe an elderly accountant would like it. 



  1. I agree that Japanese cars are really garbages.
    Japanese cars are inferior to European cars/

    Boycott Japanese cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. You are the stupidest person in the world. If It was not for Japan, the oil crisis could of never ended. THE S2000, SUPRA OR NSX WOULD OF NEVER CAME OUT.

  3. I grew up in Japan, and believe that a lot of Japanese cars “were” reliable. But with the current technology and improvements in the automotive industry, the average car is just as reliable. So, what has Japan done to improve their competition. US and European cars out perform Japanese cars in power, comfort, handling; even Korean cars are bumping up their game to be more competitive while Japan progress has dramatically slowed down. Sure Japan has GTR, new Fairlady, Lexus’s (which every model looks the same) but still does not stand up to the US muscle car,, and Mercedes GT63s, BMW M8 competition (to name a few brand/car), even some of the Kia and Genesis flagship price point give better bang for the buck then Japanese cars. Another thing I hate is that Japan has a monopoly on US, and European cars imported into Japan, some Korean cars are not permitted into Japan for sale (eliminate the competition), The price of all import cars into Japan is literally double the MSRP (including foreign Dealerships in Japan). I under there are cost for shipping and taxation, but really? The Math is MSRP x 2 = price of import cars in Japan. It’s sad that the average person in Japan can’t afford to buying an imported car and end up buying a Japanese cars. I wonder what would happen if Europe and US did the same math for Japanese cars sold outside of Japan.

  4. all jap cars are junk. I don’t hate myself enough to drive one or worse think of owning one. Domestic cars are great. Why on gods green earth would anyone think the pieces of crap made overseas are better than home made cars. Some people are simply too stupid to know what is good for them. We were forced into a war with japan and won. why support their stinking car industry. Let them keep the crap they make in japan where it belongs.

    1. Well domestics sucked amazingly badly in the 80’s and 90’s, they had to improve a lot or the vastly superior Japanese cars of the time would have put them out of business. In fact they did put a lot of the GM brands out of business.

  5. you are not alone bro I hate japan car/automotive too even for their history ww2 to nasty to write, the only reason why because japan very dominant in our market share imagine you have 273 million people and 95% all of them market share owned by japan, they do monopolies! with increase price but decrease quality even their car are shit garbage, overprice and underpower

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *