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Foreign luxury cars see brisk sales in Japan

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Is this the start of Japanese people starting to appreciate quality vehicles as opposed to whitegoods on wheels?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

No brainer, increase the tax on bigger foreign cars by 5-10%, while you’re at it Suga you can increase cigarette taxes by 30%. Better those increases than another consumption tax increase..

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Nobody imports foreign economy cars... What would be the point?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Is this the start of Japanese people starting to appreciate quality vehicles as opposed to whitegoods on wheels?

What logic would you give for increasing sales of lexus and Acura in other countries then?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I recently started working locally for Toyota, believe me, they’re selling every day, just fine. The place is always full of customers

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Is this the start of Japanese people starting to appreciate quality vehicles as opposed to whitegoods on wheels?

Much of the rest of the world looks to the Japanese for high quality and durable automobiles. As my wife is fond of saying, with a wink, the neighbors food always looks better than your own. Same with cars I reckon.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Is this the start of Japanese people starting to appreciate quality vehicles as opposed to whitegoods on wheels?

White goods on wheels? Japanese automobiles are the most reliable cars in the world and cheap to maintain. I posses both a Japanese and a so called 'German luxury car' (they are no as luxurious as someone may think) and believe me the Japanese has been as reliable as the German and the maintenance costs have been a fraction of what I have paid for its European counterpart.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I have a Mercedes Benz sports car. I have enjoyed the quality it has including the safety features and I would not want to drive any thing else. It's Mercedes Benz or Nothing!

I have it for 20 years and still feels new.

Please excuse italics as I had no control over it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I posses both a Japanese and a so called 'German luxury car' (they are no as luxurious as someone may think) and believe me the Japanese has been as reliable as the German and the maintenance costs have been a fraction of what I have paid for its European counterpart.

I don't think anybody is surprised. There are re-imported Japanese cars here that are more expensive in price as well as maintenance because the perception is that you are rich to be driving a foreign made luxury brand. A camera made in Japan is cheaper in the US than in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The worst car I ever had was a BMW, nothing but trouble. Never had a problem with my Toyota even after 20 years and high mileage. People who buy European cars do not know what they're letting themselves in for.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Expat....

Nobody imports foreign economy cars... What would be the point?

VW, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault "economy" cars are all sold in Japan. Quite why anyone would choose one over a Honda or Toyota is a mystery, maybe they like paying higher prices for inferior products?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@expat

Sorry but......

You are wrong.

A wide variety of  foreign economy cars and others are brought in on a daily basis. Most used.

Some new.

Honda Civic Hybrid order was taken in our company last month from Honda America in Long Beach CA.  

Toyota Camry Hybrid was ordered from Nets last week coming in LHD. Made in Mexico.

And I myself imported a 2006 Escape Hybrid front-wheel drive last year, which was fourth with 36 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. That year of 06. I still drive Escape from time to time. Why not only has 18456KM.

People import cars from all over creation to Japan. I saw a Russian car come in last week.

https://uaz.riesen.co.jp/

Clubs everywhere. If you got the coin. Anything can come in.

I have a Focus RS coming in from Bremerhaven . Very economical on gas. Have wanted the RS for sometime happen to find one in good shape with 33 KM on it.

With 2.3-litre petrol engine and its high power means it isn't particularly cheap to run. The RS returns claimed fuel economy of 36.7mpg, which will drop considerably if you drive it quickly or in heavy traffic. There is no heavy traffic where I am. Some what eco.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

while you’re at it Suga you can increase cigarette taxes by 30%.

Since the Japanese government is the largest shareholder of Japan Tobacco, it's not in it's interest to have less people smoke. They own the rights to hundreds of cigarette brands including the international rights for Camel, Salem, Winston and Benson & Hedges. They sell them all over the world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@CitizenSmith, is not about convenient. Is about status and flexing one wealth. Those who have the money rarely have much to do except buy a nice looking car to show off to others. Is a way to display they had succeeded in life.

When something is rare in a nation, it becomes unique enough to be use as a status symbol. In their eyes, the majority of the population have a japanese car, so in order to stand out they would choose a foreign car.

Plus in nations like Asia, people tend to buy cars a lot because whenever disasters strike like flooding, earthquake, typhoons etc, cars suffer the most damage and get replace easily. So it is not strange for the rich to import foreign cars every few years to replace their damage ones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I set two exactly identical very low budgets, ($4,500 x 2) and bought a J box car and a foreign luxury car, both second hand, both with 80,000 km on the clock.

Guess which one is great for doing daily stuff like the shopping, is economical and totally unremarkable in the flow of traffic.

Guess which one is for weekend use and special occasions, and draws stares and admiring comments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was planning to buy an European car since i have driven VW golf since i can remember. But not only the price of the car is more expensive due import, but also spare parts and maintenance. All is done electronically but replacing parts made me ask why?

I know i can go to a cheaper place but I prefer the original dealer.

So i went for a high end japanese maker.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

VW, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault "economy" cars are all sold in Japan. Quite why anyone would choose one over a Honda or Toyota is a mystery, maybe they like paying higher prices for inferior products?

The short answer is that European cars have superior handling, road feel, steering brakes and ergonomics. For some of us that is more important than appliance like reliability (I won't get into how expensive and obnoxious the maintenance on newer Toyotas is). European road speed tend to be much higher than anywhere in Asia. There are lots of narrow mountain roads driven at high speeds. Motorways and Autobahns have curves too. As a result European cars tend to give the driver a lot more direct feed back through the steering wheel, brake pedal and seat of the pants. Their suspensions tend to be firmer and better damped. Most Asian cars get loose and scary feeling at the kinds of speeds people drive in Germany. There are exceptions but based on the steady diet of Asian rental cars I get on business trips, the Asian stuff just lacks the nice handling and brakes of equivalent European cars. Also, the seat to pedal distance on Japanese cars is universally too short for me and the seat cushions too short. As big as my wife's two Avalons are, they both have a horrible driving position. The only Japanese car I could ever get comfortable in was a Lance Evo 8. Subarus, Toyotas, Nissans, Mazdas all have the seat too close to the pedals and I can never find a comfortable position in them. I have a small Audi 90 and it is far more comfortable. I can drive it all day. Great seats and a great driving position. The European car makers get it. The Asian car makers don't.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Dessert Tortoise...

The short answer is that European cars have superior handling, road feel, steering brakes and ergonomics.

Obviously you are comparing a high end Benz and a Kei car.

A modern Subaru, Honda, Lexus or higher end Toyota will be far superior to a comparably priced Euro.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A modern Subaru, Honda, Lexus or higher end Toyota will be far superior to a comparably priced Euro.

Nope. I haven't driven a modern high end European car. I prefer small agile cars over the big behemoths. I am talking cars like a Ford Focus, Opel Astra (rented one in Germany and flogged it mercilessly), VW Jetta (I've driven them in Germany and the US) or VW Passat. The Focus in particular has no peer from Japan. The big Toyotas leave me cold. Nissans feel cheap and tinny on the road. The brakes are not linear and the steering feels like it's connected to a rubber band. The Kia Optima gets the seat and driving position right but nothing else, the most disconnected car I think I have ever driven. The last Honda Accord I drove was horrible inside. The window line was so high it felt like sitting in an F-1 car and what is with the the parking brake operated by a little button behind the shifter? How about a proper console mounted hand brake? The nicest handling car I think I have ever driven was a late 1970s Ford Fiesta with manual trans, manual steering and manual brakes. It weighed so little it didn't need power assist. The road feel was amazing and it handled like a go-cart. Passat's have beautiful seats, lots of room and the fit and finish are as good as any Audi (or Benz) without all the electronic crap that someone like me doesn't want anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Never, ever, buy the four Fs - Fiat, Ferrari, Ford, French. Other than that, it's all good to go.

The brakes are not linear and the steering feels like it's connected to a rubber band.

Had that in a Kei car. Steering response was so slow and loose it felt like I was driving a yacht.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Have a Japanese sports car and a small German hatchback.

The German car feels more planted and is much better quality.

The only Japanese car of similar quality to European cars is the Lexus brand.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nobody imports foreign economy cars... What would be the point?

Sure they do. Japan imports Smart, Fiat, VW, Renault, Jeep, among other foreign non-luxury brands.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only Japanese car of similar quality to European cars is the Lexus brand.

I guess you haven't driven a late-model Mazda. While not at the level of Lexus, their vehicles are definitely a cut above comparably-priced Toyota/Nissan/Honda models.

I also love my German luxury hatchback here in Japan. (And, I loved my German economy hatchbacks and wagons back in the US, as well) But, the Mazdas I test drove before settling on it were just as solid and well-built, as was our previous Axela Sport. I just liked the slightly more advanced tech in the German car better. And, my wife liked that big logo on the grill. :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

VW, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault "economy" cars are all sold in Japan. Quite why anyone would choose one over a Honda or Toyota is a mystery, maybe they like paying higher prices for inferior products?

I would choose a VW over Toyota/Nissan/Honda any day of the week. The Golf is one of the best automotive values in the world, except, perhaps here, where the price is artificially inflated as to avoid competition with domestics. But, I would still choose it over those 3.

It's nicer looking, more powerful, handles better, has nicer interior materials than any of its big 3 JP counterparts. The only similar JP model that surpasses it is the Mazda3.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would choose a VW over Toyota/Nissan/Honda any day of the week.

Then you would be paying a hefty price premium for the same quality/performance.

Its true that 10 or 15 years ago the interiors of Japanese cars were often somewhat lacking, now they much better. Want to compare reliability.....? No, I didn't think so. Especially if you bought a Fiat, Renault or Audi... :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Want to compare reliability.....? No, I didn't think so. Especially if you bought a Fiat, Renault or Audi... :)

My two older Audis are more reliable than the two miserable Avalon's on my driveway. And repairs are vastly less costly. Doing something as basic as an oil change on either Toyota is miserable and messy. On the Toyota you can't replace the rear wheel bearings, you buy a whole new hub assembly. Why? Replacing the rear three spark plugs is a 5 1/2 hour job at the dealer requiring the entire intake system, wipers, wiper motor and wiper motor deck to be removed. Pure stupidity. It's a 15 minute job on my Audis. Working on our cars makes me hate Toyotas with a passion and explains why every time I take it to a mechanic the bill is at least $1000. Often more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would only trade my Mercedes GLK for a G550.

Japanese domestic cars are crap compared to the Japanese cars sold overseas. Higher safety standards are used overseas so the Japanese consumer gets an inferior, and less safe version.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japanese domestic cars are crap compared to the Japanese cars sold overseas. Higher safety standards are used overseas so the Japanese consumer gets an inferior, and less safe version.

I guess it depends on what one wants from a car. My criticism of both Japanese and German cars is that the ones sold in the US are larded up with every option imaginable whether you want it or not. It was refreshing when visiting Germany to see Mercedes Benz sold with simple analog air conditioning controls, manual crank windows and manual transmissions. Abroad I have seen Japanese cars I only wish were sold in the US because they are simple, basic straightforward vehicles and not the fully loaded stuff pushed across US showrooms. I don't want a TV screen in my car.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Desert TortoiseToday  12:49 am JST

I guess it depends on what one wants from a car. 

Safety, durability, value. Japan Inc. has been pulling a fast one over the gullible Japanese consumer for decades. Same goes for electronics, appliances etc. The manufacturers use the Japanese consumer as guinea pigs, churning out inferior products for the domestic market, and often strangely designed and what not, as opposed to the final, highly polished products sold to the much larger international market.

Even residential construction-these houses have a shelf-life of 20-30 years. Incredible the Japanese people accept this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Same goes for electronics, appliances etc. The manufacturers use the Japanese consumer as guinea pigs, churning out inferior products for the domestic market, and often strangely designed and what not, as opposed to the final, highly polished products sold to the much larger international market.

We have 100 volt converters in our home to facilitate the use of some very nice Japanese market appliances not available in the US unless you use a proxy buying service. My wife will tell you the Japanese keep their best products for themselves and sell the rest of the world lesser products. A couple of years ago out of curiosity I bought a little Panasonic canister vacuum. Saw one in an ad and wondered "hmmm, what's that?" Bought one off a Japanese auction site. I tested it outside on 120 volt power with a fire extinguisher handy just in case. My wife wandered outside to see what kind of trouble her husband was up to. While running the vacuum I draped a couple of fingers over the hose end. It sucked my hand against the hose and made the whole vacuum jump off the ground. My wife just smiled while nodding her head and said "I want that vacuum" It has a motorized power nozzle we can use on carpets, area rugs and hard floors with equal facility and the dusting brush is built into the hose end. The crevice tool (too for the gap in Japanese ads) attaches to the bottom of the hose handle. With that she no longer has to swap nozzles for different floors or bend over for attachments. She won't touch the big buck Miele any more. Later on I used this thingy Kirby sales people use to show you how weak your vacuum is compared to a Kirby. This little Panasonic pegged their meter, more airflow than the big Kirby has. Aside from that we simply cannot live with a Japanese rice cooker. Nothing else cooks rice as nice. We like Zojirushi. Mama's rice cooker in Shanghai is nowhere near as good (nor is her rice) and no western company makes a good rice cooker. Americans buy Minute Rice or Uncle Bens. Blech. I like Japanese appliances but not many of their cars. My experience with German kitchen appliances is that they are highly failure prone. A Mr. Coffee is more durable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Desert TortoiseToday  03:24 am JST

My wife will tell you the Japanese keep their best products for themselves and sell the rest of the world lesser products. 

No, that is not how it works in Japan. I've worked for a major Japanese appliance maker, automotive manufacturer etc. The Japanese model is product obsolescence on steroids.

Check outside on non-burnable trash day and whatever and you will see tons of appliances, electrons, furniture and what not getting tossed out because they broke down.

Interestingly, I have a tv made in Thailand bought 18 years ago--still works great.

A/C units are a little different though--those are solid, primarily because they are also used commercially, and the Japanese makers know not to pull a fast one on their buddies from college, high school or wherever. Told to me by a engineer at one of these manufacturers. Makes sense.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Mr Kipling

"I would choose a VW over Toyota/Nissan/Honda any day of the week."

Then you would be paying a hefty price premium for the same quality/performance.

Nope. I would be paying a small premium for similar quality, but for much better performance, comfort, and especially style. In some cases, no premium at all.

As an example, my Mercedes was less expensive than a similar class of Lexus. It has more safety features, newer technology, better performance, and is wayyyyy better looking.

FYI, I've been driving for more than 40 years. I've owned many cars - German, Japanese, British, and American. And, from my own experience, I prefer German. Although, I do like Mazda, too. If they entered the luxury market, I'd definitely take a look.

Maybe, someday, if Lexus crossovers stop being so ugly, I would consider them, as well. There is no denying Lexus quality, as well as their level of service here in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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