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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. 

 

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theneil
theneillink
Monday, March 27, 2017 3:14 AM
Can I get an "Amen"???!
ST-Cyclone
ST-Cyclonelink
Monday, March 27, 2017 3:38 AM
am 29, so i might have a different perspective, i agree to 99% of this but if i may kojima-dono:

-I like the new Lexus front fascia, yes ther i said it xD! its not supposed to be "beautiful", rather aggressive! Same goes for the "male" GT-R, it was designed to look like a gundam, again not "beautiful".

-You're 55 as you said, of course you won't like all that "functional-aero-lol" on the FK8 CTR ^_^, again for one i like how it looks, quite a bit more than the FK2 "fat cat" really, for the same reason as above ;)

-What about the "pepsi can" side profile of the new VAB STi's? i feel this case might be the most messed up JDM icon!

-I really like how you totally avoided the 86/BRZ , wouldn't that be the true successor of the AE86? its fits like a glove,RWD, and weighs as much as an S15 or an FD3S. it's not powerful,stock, but neither were many of the great legends you mentioned here.

-Supra...well, as the rest of them old legends like DC2 and the S2k, you sir would know better than anyone here about torsional rigidity vs weight ;)

-Finally, they're companies, companies are supposed to make money. as much as i HATE it but the reality is sports cars don't make money for such main-stream companies, it has to be really expensive like porsche's or lambo's where the company profits from each car as much as a toyota or honda sells an economy car. I really hope am wrong on this
....but perhaps that's why R35's are ever exploding in MSRP and the new big-fat NSX costs a couple of banks.
kenecchi
kenecchilink
Monday, March 27, 2017 4:49 AM
Agree, 200%. Unfortunately public perception of the car itself has shifted in Japan, from being a status symbol to a necessary evil, so to own anything that isn't a Prius or a "family car" (Nissan Serena or Toyota Voxy-style minivan) is to look a little bit backwards and socially irresponsible. Some major industrial manufacturing companies will not allow employees to use their own car to commute to work unless it is a hybrid. The new Civic Type R and NSX aren't even "Japanese cars" per se; they're someone's idea of what might appeal to customers in the US and Europe, and weren't originally intended to be sold domestically. Meanwhile every time I visit the US, I'm always surprised by how much better-looking and more appealing American sports cars have become, and how enthusiasm for racing and modifying cars, new and old, remains pretty high.
SM_Clay72
SM_Clay72link
Monday, March 27, 2017 7:37 AM
The problem is that yourself and the like-minds you reference (including myself) are not the majority, nor the target demographic.

People are stupid. They want stupid cars.
jeffreyball610
jeffreyball610link
Monday, March 27, 2017 8:05 AM
Everyone who visits this site will agree with Mr. Kojima. However, as others have stated, we are the minority. Most people want/need an appliance to get from here to there. Why do you think minivans, hybrids, and SUVs sell so many units? When the most recent fuel "crisis" hit, auto makers pulled the plug on fun cars and went back to economy/utility cars.

We love fun to drive cars and most of us are on realistic budgets and can't afford "real" supercars. To that end, we all want what the Japanese car market used to offer; fun to drive and reasonable prices and high quality. As the old saying goes; fast, cheap, reliable. Choose two. The current market has chosen cheap and reliable.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 9:26 AM
Actually, I did say the Toyota 86 is one model where they got it. That is one interesting model where in the 80's and early 90's they had 4 at once!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 9:28 AM
Knowing some stuff about aero, I can say that a lot of the new Civics aero is marketing functional! I also said the GT-R is ugly. I even own one. I own an STI, a GT-R and an Evo and I think they are all ugly cars. It would have been much better if they were good looking!
klch
klchlink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:00 AM
Agree 100% that there're no cars in the whole Toyota/ Honda/ Nissan lineup are worth buying except 86, GTR

The last hope from Japanese car maker is probably Mazda, at least their cars are the best quality among all the japanese cars (except Lexus, which is at a different price range), and still fun to drive to a certain degree
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:03 AM
And Toyota, actually in the 2017 JD Powers IQS I think Mazda was mid pack.
8695Beaters
8695Beaterslink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:26 AM
@kich Mazda quality is shit. Ask me how I know. At least Mazda still makes cars that are fun to drive, even with the Mazdaspeed line pretty well dead for the time being.

I've been new car shopping for the last few years and the number of new cars I actually want I can count on one hand. And the number of new cars I both want and can afford starts and ends with the Focus RS. It's reasonably priced, fast as hell, and wrapped in a good looking, practical hatchback body. Nissan's styling department is on acid (that said, the new Altima is my rental car of choice, even with a 4-banger and a CVT). Toyota/Lexus are making their cars look ANGRY AND AGGRESSIVE because they are pudding to drive. Honda's American offerings are the automotive equivalent of Babymetal: They look to be high quality Japanese product, but peel away the Japanese facade and it's just American mush. Every Subaru I've ever driven has been fun to drive, but unfortunate to live with, and every one of my friend's Subarus was junked after it met with catastrophic powertrain failure. Mitsubishi is pretty much as lost cause and the EVO was one of the few cars I still wanted to own, but now it too is gone.

Which is why when it came to sign the paperwork, I bought a Tacoma so it would be easier to tow around my busted up 240SX. I'm looking forward to the day when I can take a nearly 30 year old beater to the track and shame brand new $40,000 sports cars with a light, nimble, flexible flyer of a Nissan. And even with misaligned, half painted bodywork, it'll still look better than most of whatever else turns up at the track day.
Burninator
Burninatorlink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:39 AM
"and even the Mitsubishi 3000GT" - The poor 3000GT is always looked down on. I had one for a couple years, I loved it (the VR-4 obviously, the base models were crap).
Chris_B
Chris_Blink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:48 AM
One only has to look at how the Japanese car makers sat back and let the Korean brands storm the market. They didn't even fight back! Toyota and Nissan looked like they were focused on battling American and European brands for the older buyers, which hasn't worked out so well for enthusiasts (although much better for "appliance car" buyers, the ones who put more time into selecting the perfect toaster oven, as long as there is "free" shipping). All the while, Kia/Hyundai beat them up and stole their lunch with the younger crowd. Why spend more on today's Japanese cars if they don't appear to offer more to the casual consumer, aside from being more ugly?
S0rt0fF4st
S0rt0fF4stlink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:53 AM
Hey Mike! This is an interesting article. I'm the driver of the Guesswork V6 EG. I believe I met you at SLB last year. I actually own 3 older Hondas. I have a 97 ITR, 93 EG, and a 92 EG. I would have to agree that there aren't many newer Honda's (or Japanese cars in general) that I can see myself driving for a long period of time. I think most of the Japanese companies have lost their way to an extent. Take for instance the Type R they used to make vs what they're making now. Not only is the styling very different, but they're trying too hard at this point. It's less focused on fun and more on what it can do on paper. The problem I see is that no one really wants to pay 35-40k for something that's comparable to a Focus RS (AWD and actually looks better). There are a few cars I think that got it right. I believe it has already been mentioned, but the newer GT86 did it right by the fans IMO. I'm not a fan of the motor, but it is still more of a drivers car compared to anything else they make. Another car which I don't believe was mentioned yet is the Mazda Miata. It hasn't really deviated much from what it once was which I can appreciate. I completely agree that most Japanese cars today in general are boring and lack personality. With each manufacturer it's sort of like there's maybe 1 car out of their entire line up that has any appeal at all (like GTR compared to everything else).
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 10:56 AM
I totally forgot the MX5. It's probably because I have never liked it because I don't like roadsters.
Name User
Name Userlink
Monday, March 27, 2017 11:11 AM
hey, I'm not trying to be weird or anything, but doesn't Mike sorta look like a Z32? maybe if you squint
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 11:17 AM
ok that's weird
klch
klchlink
Monday, March 27, 2017 11:34 AM
@8695Beaters
care to elaborate how "Mazda quality is shit"? because that's not what I can see in their cars since ~2008

@Mike
have to take JD Power IQS with a grain of salt because they way they count 1 defect is that a "hard to find how to pair bluetooth device" is same severity as "a engine that suddenly shutdown". so those with a high ranking is not necessarily mean they're making the most high quality cars, it's just their user interface are most "idiot friendly" + their cars are reasonably reliable
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 11:44 AM
A problem is still a problem that other makes are not having. Japanese have the process control part of the quality equation down. What is happening is the decontenting of stuff you don't see that is related to long term durability beyond the IQS period. Another factor you don't see is the OEM's putting the squeeze on the suppliers who are starting to make shoddy parts that just barely meet specs.
apolo
apololink
Monday, March 27, 2017 3:04 PM
You are 99% correct exact one small thing, did you notice that most of the examples “good looking 90s JDM cars” in your article has aftermarket parts?
The true is that they all lack in some way to start with and all needed some sort of aftermarket part to make them a better driver’s car and to look good.
Name one Japanese car that you will be happy 100% stock?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 3:49 PM
That's the trouble, I can't name one Japanese car I want regardless of how it looks.
Hap
Haplink
Monday, March 27, 2017 4:44 PM
I owned a Honda once, way back when, it was a super good car to drive. But then it started to eat brakes at a prodigious rate (every 4-5K miles), snapped halfshafts and CV joints seized, rusted out front fenders and doors, broke a strut spring that went through a tire and damn near killed me, rusted out the same parts again and added in the hatch and a rear quarter for fun, had 2 cam lobes go flat, put a valve through a piston, rusted out again, this time the entire drivers floor was added in to the usual list of panels with holes. The floor being gone at least opened up the possibility of a Fred Flintstone stop when the brakes failed, which they did regularly. It wasn't actually my car, it was my wife's, who drove it daintily. Perhaps that was the problem. At any rate, at age 5 years, it got traded in for almost zero dollars on some ugly but reliable North America DD material that lasted 10 years with no drama. I have not looked at a Japanese car since that POS, though I do fancy Korean stuff, very reliable and excellent value autos indeed. Never again Japan.
EHP
EHPlink
Monday, March 27, 2017 5:28 PM
Hi Mike.

I agree with your comments. I have worked at a quite a numbers of OEMs (including Nissan and several other Japanese makes). What I experienced was a shift to purely business driven product planning and as you have stated "marketing functional" design. There used to be a passion/aspiration poured into the development of vehicles. The chief engineer used to refuse to cut any corners. Those days are long gone... Product decision meetings are all about clinic data and return on investment... I tried to get a lightweight sports car approved at Nissan, but fell to the wayside to fund additional investment for the failing Leaf... Unfortunately, I don't think any Japanese manufacturer will be able to produce something comparable to those from the '80s & 90's. The current management just doesn't get it and will not take the risk. Especially since the target market is so small. However, what Nissan, Toyota, and Honda do not understand is that these cars will help define the brand and sell the brand instead of each individual model. If they continue to think about each vehicle in silos and concentrate on just the current generation, they will live and die with trends. Some manufacturers get this and are consolidating to become too big to fail. As long as that is the approach, we will continue to have to live with these ugly/mundane cars...

Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 27, 2017 6:03 PM
One of the last things I did at Nissan was to be one of the in-house consultants for a potential RWD lightweight cheap car. The guys at NDI took our suggestions and our report showing things like the DNA of the 510, 240z, AE86, S13, etc and came up with a hideous looking clay model that looked like a shrunken Murano. We were talking and hoping Toyota 86 and they somehow extracted a thing that looked like a messed up cross between a mini and a Murano that looked worse than either. Then there was the weird "cage car". I quit days later as this cemented in my mind exactly what was wrong with the company.
happynole
happynolelink
Monday, March 27, 2017 6:36 PM
I also was an original owner of an '85 Corolla GT-S and regret ever selling as well. Now fast forward several years and I bought and tracked both a B13 SE-R and an NX2000, my daughter still daily drives the NX. My daily driver and occasional track toy now is a '95 G20, known to the rest of the civilized world as the Nissan Primera.
And I am with you that there is not a single Japanese car available new today that I would replace my G20 with for daily duty with track capability after a simple change of wheels & tires.
theneil
theneillink
Monday, March 27, 2017 8:12 PM
We need more z32 info
pk386
pk386link
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 3:49 AM
I wish the Nissan IDx had become a reality.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:22 AM
Not to be a Mazda fanboy (disclaimer: I'm a Mazda fanboy) but at least they have continued to make things that are nice to drive - even their bread and butter cars aren't bad. And Subaru has, uh, one model I'd own? Still though, it's a bad sign when if you held a gun to my head and asked me to pick 3 Japanese cars in my price range that I'd willingly spend my money on, I'd pretty much be stuck on the 3rd.
8695Beaters
8695Beaterslink
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 5:44 AM
@kich: My 2008 MS3 has been a paragon of poor quality. On top of the strut stud that snapped when I removed it, the brake booster failed, the door handle broke (and jammed the door shut), the crank position sensor failed (and didn't throw a CEL, but it did cause a wicked misfire), and the cruise control has an intermittent fault. This is on top of the bumper plastics that can't even take a light curbing (see my Wrench Tip on repairing the bumper), leather that is totally disintegrating (I dare you to go on eBay right now and find me an MS3 steering wheel with leather that isn't falling off), a transmission with synchros that are wearing out at 90,000 miles, headlights that are so hazed, the plastic is actually etched and scored, and loose interior trim.

It should also be noted that the Mazda MZR was designed with a VTC actuation pin that would fail from the factory! Mazda tried to save a few cents on the VTC pin and underdesigned it, so it wears out abnormally quickly. This causes a timing chain rattle that if ignored will eventually cause the VTC pin to snap in half. This ends up dropping the valves and you have to rebuild the engine. Mazda has a new hardened VTC actuation pin that will fix this problem, but it requires you to disassemble half of the head and replace the timing chain and guides. It's a $1,500 service at the dealer. And since it was only a TSB and not a recall, you're stuck with the bill. This issue affects all 1st gen CX-7s, MS3s, and MS6s.

All in a car that is less than 9 years old and has 90,000 miles. The door handle was absolutely inexcusable and it's a 100% failure rate. I'm writing about that particular issue right now. Whoever designed that particular part needs to be dragged around Laguna Seca behind a Miata for their utter failure in basic engineering methods. I ended up selling the 3 because it spent the better part of 6 months being broken down in my driveway. Spend some time digging through Mazda forums and you will find a ton of people who have had major issues.

I'd rather own another Chevette than another Mazda.
Ricky
Rickylink
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 6:15 AM
One of the few problems of the current car generation is fuel economy goals and safety. One replace throttle response with lack of and the second overweight everything it touch and add super complex undefeatable traction control/stability assist.

The raw feeling of the previous generation of sports car is gone, but that doesn't mean that everything is now boring. Chassis rigidity is waaaaay better than what was done 20 years ago. Tire are wider, The Civic Si was a fun car. Hell, my 17 Accord is a fun car, even with the CVT! Put the shifter in sport mode and it's great, seriously. Better than the 05 Mustang I had at least. My last Ford Fiesta was fun. Small and nimble. Cheap but fun.

As for the quality aspect, Ford are horrible. My Fiesta was a deffect waiting to happen. My 05 Mustang wasn't that good, fun to drive but not well built. My sister in law with her Focus add too many problem with interior falling appart. They might be fun to drive, that's all. I would be scare to buy a 35k$US Focus (they are 48k $can up here...). At least they have great customer service.

Subaru have the WRX and STI, but one of the worst customer service ever. Hope your car don't break (and it will), or it will be a hell lot of bad times with the dealer. The base impreza were fun cars until 2012 came. Fuel economy killed the base Impreza.

The thing is, we're still a minority. In northern american, people value more fuel economy and luggage space (as long as it's a sedan) to sportiness. Most people's commute don't involve curves, it's all highway. Highway with gridlocks.

The manual transmission is dying because people aren't buying them anymore. Manual transmission sucks in traffic jam. It's worst with a "sport" stiff clutch. 95% of people don't need a manual transmission. The 5% of entousiast remaining buy what's left.

I'm lucky I live in the province of Quebec, up here in the great white north. The manual transmission is still alive (we like compact and sub-compact car here. The Civic is our best selling car). Still, it's dying.
jeffreyball610
jeffreyball610link
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 6:36 AM
One thing we, as enthusiasts, have to think about is who they are selling cars to. The upscale cars are for people who want performance for short periods of time and quiet and comfortable most of the time. The "enthusiast" cars are for the younger generation where appearance is more important than substance. We all agree the appearance of these current cars is ugly, but the over-the-top nature of what they're doing is in line with this generation. Similarly, the neon color and "paint splash" graphics of the 90's was over-the-top for the time.

Other auto makers are starting to get it right, but our beloved Japanese automakers have fallen into the hole that Detroit once did.
Van_1986
Van_1986link
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 10:20 AM
Had my mom buy an Acura TLX. She needed a roomy car under 40k with a bit of luxury/sportiness. It fits the bill, I just hope it proves reliable. Yeah it could be better looking and I know they did some cost cutting with the k24, but I'll be damned if that car isn't fun to drive up a nice road with the k series/dct powertrain. Interior is also nice quality even though the infotainment is retarded.
engineered
engineeredlink
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 5:48 PM
Excellent commentary! Fully agree.
DH
DHlink
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 7:12 PM
I have gone from a 95 Accord with H22A swap, to RX-8, to now a Mazdaspeed Miata as fun car. All have been reliable and great to drive (other than the Accord, which the engine blew in a strange way that's not Honda's fault.). If I have ~$30-35k to buy a new toy, it will be hard to think of more than a couple Japanese cars, and the list may actually include a few domestics. It's hard to argue against cars like the new Mustang GT at that price as far as performance goes. Heck, if i have that much to spend, I'd probably look for the two cars I always lust after. The FD RX-7 and NSX, not new cars.
Boxed Fox
Boxed Foxlink
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 8:14 AM
The only sporty Japanese car I want right now is a Honda Accord V6. In one sense it's sad that the car I'd take an Accord over an 86 or a GTR or an MX-5. On the other hand this is kind of what things were like in the early 90's and people still found ways to make these cars fun through a solid aftermarket. I wouldn't mind having a lightly modified Accord V6 as my next race car.
brian g
brian glink
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 10:08 PM
I have a CRZ with a K20 swap, and it is faster than a 99 civic SI and as fast as a B16 swapped CRX. I can do the same thing with the current generation Honda Fit. Get with the times Mike. You're too old.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:13 PM
Honda should have sold them like that.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:01 AM
Amen to that. So much wasted potential.
engineered
engineeredlink
Thursday, March 30, 2017 8:14 AM
Brian, you can swap hot engine into almost any car to make it fast. So your point is pointless.

"Mike Kojima Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:12 AM
Honda should have sold them like that."
+1

As for styling, car designers today think they're not doing their job if the car isn't over styled. Cars in the late 90's/early 00's looked great with their subtle, but classy styling (BMW E46/E39, Audi's, Civic, Focus, Mazda3/6, etc).
Over styling is like when women put on too much makeup.
Dadster
Dadsterlink
Thursday, March 30, 2017 12:08 PM
Amen, Mike. Still wish I hadn't sold my '91 SE-R. Did many, many track days with that car... stock and with upgrades. Even did track days with the old SE-R national club. Sigh. Currently driving a '13 Fit with manual. Planning for the day when I can realistically transplant a k20 or k25, rsx tranny and what not. But, that will be after the kids are out of school... and out of the house. Been eyeing a '92 SE-R on the local craigslist. Maybe I can sell one of my kids and have both... think my wife might just notice, though.
Junita Ekhoff
Junita Ekhofflink
Thursday, March 30, 2017 1:31 PM
Well, that's true. I think these cars are quite ugly. Honestly, with all the advancements that are being done in technology they could have done waaay better than this.
humjaba
humjabalink
Friday, March 31, 2017 8:04 AM
There's still some glimmer of hope at Honda and Toyota.. Toyota's CEO recently made a proclamation that design would no longer be sacrificed at the alter of the production Gods (http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/toyota-president-declares-no-more-boring-cars) - we'll see if that happens, but it's the right direction. Honda still makes great engines (F1 season aside) when they want to - I have a 2014 Acura MDX, and that 3.5L V6 is a treat. It gets great gas mileage (28mpg on the highway from a 7 passenger SUV?) and is quick to boot. I nearly ended up in an Explorer Sport, but the handling of the MDX was far better, and the prospect of owning a BMW X5 or Audi Q7 out of warranty still gives me chills.
Anonymous User
Anonymous Userlink
Sunday, April 23, 2017 11:45 PM
mike156
mike156link
Wednesday, May 03, 2017 10:49 AM
There seems to be some nostalgia clouding the picture here.

Most of these soulless turds made today will actually out-perform and be more reliable than most of the 80s and 90s cars you speak of. They certainly don't FEEL like it though and that is where my disappointment comes from. They have engineered every bit of harshness out of the car, to the point that they resort to inducing controlled engine and road noise back into the car because they feel so disconnected.

Also, there are so many safety and emissions requirements and the markets NEED for technology incorporation into the user experience that a lightweight car is nothing more than a wish. Seriously, "lightweight" at this point means "under 3000 pounds" which is a tank compared to the 80s cars...although your chances of survival in a moderate speed incident now is FAR higher.

I also don't think there is interest from the youth at this point either. Most that I know seem to be afraid of any form of spirited driving. They think the epitome of transportation will be stepping into your subscription based autonomous fleet vehicle, pulling out a phone and not caring until the car tells you that you have arrived.

While I would love a fast, fun, light car...I've given up and moved to off-road vehicles where 60HP+ dirt bikes and 200HP 1500lb RZRs with 18" of travel are becoming the norm. I'm sure the EPA and BLM will step in before too long though and ruin the fun here too though.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, May 03, 2017 1:43 PM
No doubt you are right but a lot of that performance improvement is due to the progress of technology. Could you imagine what Japan could build now with today's technology if they had the same attitude as before?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, May 03, 2017 2:01 PM
EHP, I know who you are just by the language of your comment ;)
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Monday, May 15, 2017 8:00 AM
Nothing sold by the Japanese is appealing anymore. All of my top car choices are either European or American.

No problem. Brand loyalty is for suckers. Those of us that drove those 90s rice rockets are among the top target demographic for car sales. Though many of us here likely aren't guilty of this, many of our peers are. Go tell them to test drive something from another automaker. Most people had a Nissan last time, and if it didn't completely screw them over, will go back to the Nissan dealer again and just pick the one that fits their needs/price.

It's the same thing we used to wonder back in the day: how in the hell does someone look at all of the mid-size offerings out there and buy a Pontiac Grand Am? Answer: they're only comparing it to the Sunfire and the Grand Prix. They didn't drive the Accord, Altima, Passat or Camry.

So, tell your friends to go test drive an American car. They'll probably be surprised and buy one. Eventually, Nissan/Toyota/Honda will see it in their bottom line and adapt or fail.

Another note:

What these automakers seem to fail to notice is that developing that sports car platform injects sportiness into their whole product line. Look at GM with the Alpha chassis: it's excellent and makes every vehicle built on it at the top of its class for sportiness and driver involvement, and GM cars are making a comeback as a result. Nissan: no, that Sylvia remake won't turn a profit, but it will probably boost 370z sales, Maxima (we can dream of a RWD Max right?) sales, Q50 sales, etc, etc, etc because everything benefits.




Currently, I'm growing out my mullet in preparation for my next car: 1LE Camaro SS. $40k, 455HP, over 1g around the skidpad, and steering that actually tells you WTF is going on.
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