Driving from Japan

Japanese Cars in America


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About the Book

This study chronicles the success of the Japanese car in America. Starting with Japan’s first gasoline-powered car, the Takuri, it examines early Japanese inventors and automotive conditions in Japan; the arrival of Japanese cars in California in the late 1950s; consumer and media reactions to Japanese manufacturers; what obstacles they faced; initial sales; and how the cars gained popularity through shrewd marketing.
Toyota, Honda, Datsun (Nissan), Mazda, Subaru, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi are profiled individually from their origins through the present. An examination follows of the forced cooperation between American and Japanese manufacturers, the present state of the industry in America, and the possible future of this union, most importantly in the race for a more environmentally-sound vehicle.

About the Author(s)

Writer and graphic designer Wanda James has worked as an automotive technician and achieved a Class A certification with Honda. She lives near Ottawa, Ontario.

Bibliographic Details

Wanda James
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 320
Bibliographic Info: 83 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3116-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1280-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction      1

1. America Builds an Industry      5
2. America’s Wide-Open Market      16
3. The Rise of Japan      25
4. Toyota—First on Shore      37
5. “A Legend in Its Time”—-Toyota’s Rise to the Top      54
6. Datsun’s Debut—Los Angeles, 1958      72
7. Lost and Found—From Datsun to Nissan      86
8. Honda’s American Dream      106
9. Honda’s American Dream—Part Two      118
10. Mazda Makes Its Mark      137
11. Subaru and Suzuki Stake Their Claim      156
12. Isuzu and Mitsubishi—Captive No More      178
13. Advantage Japan—Environment, Embargo and Excellence      195
14. This Yacht Is Sinking—Detroit Flounders      208
15. If You Can’t Beat ’Em… Japanese/American Tie-ins      220
16. The New American Automotive Community      232
17. American Labor—Japanese-Style      242
18. The Return of the Unequal Treaties—U.S.-Japan Trade      254
19. The Road Ahead—From Conquest to Concept      265

Chapter Notes      277
Bibliography      289
Index      297

Book Reviews & Awards

“masterful job…interesting…extremely readable…full of facts…excellent…not many recent monographs on this important topic, all libraries should purchase this one…highly recommended”—Choice.