Younger generations the names Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Subaru are all synonymous with quality cars and are considered as commonplace as microwaves and lawnmowers. All six of these Japanese automakers are staples in everyday life for millions of Americans, as they transport us to and from school and work, down country roads for spirited Saturday drives, and on family road trips to the beach.

The aftermarket and racing communities also tend to be huge supporters of the Japanese automaker, showing unrelenting dedication to the companies that make some of the fastest and coolest cars on the planet. The original Fast & Furious film and all of the installments following it would have been a hell of a lot different if it didn’t have obnoxious neon-lit Civics and turbocharged Supras racing through the streets.

But it wasn’t always like this. For decades Japanese vehicles were shunned by the majority of the American public, and labeled as inexpensive compact cars designed for the underemployed. Back then no one cared about how fuel efficient a car was, gas cost less than fifty cents a gallon in 1972. Americans also didn’t give a damn as to how compact they were either because big was in and small was underwhelming. People didn’t care about price, because cheap Japanese cars sure sounded like a piss-poor investment for car buyers who were still wary of the Japanese after World War II.

1. American-built

To successfully ingrain themselves into American culture, Japanese auto firms found it both a wise marketing and financial investment to start manufacturing cars on American soil. Nothing says you are committed to a country quite like investing heavily in its infrastructure and hiring an armada of designers, engineers, and assembly-line workers to produce the best product possible. With plants in every corner of America, and billions invested in keeping them here, Japanese automakers are cutting shipping costs and winning Americans over with signs proudly saying “made in America.” They may have had a rocky start, but it’s safe to say the Japanese have won many of us over.

2. Paul Newman and his kick ass Datsun

In a recent piece on Newman’s history with Nissan, there was a great deal of emphasis placed on his dedication to the Japanese firm and what that meant for the future of the car company here in the states. Seeing an Academy Award-winning actor choose to set his acting career aside for automotive racing was unexpected, but what was even more unexpected was that he chose to dismiss the notion of racing in an iconic piece of American muscle or a European sportscar, and instead brought an under-powered Datsun to the track.

This grabbed the media’s attention immediately, but it wasn’t until Newman had won a multitude of races from behind the wheel of a Nissan that Americans began to consider the automaker a legitimate alternative to racing American or European cars. Newman’s continued dedication the the brand also helped solidify Nissan’s continued investment in the American market, further altering the history of Japanese car sales here in the U.S.

source : myautocars
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