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Dec 16 2017

Why are Japanese Cars Supposed to Be More Reliable than American or European cars?

Why are Japanese cars supposed to be more reliable than American or Europeans cars?  Japanese cars are considered more durable and standard than the other car makers, what is the real reason behind it? There are many questions that users ask when evaluating the best and reliable cars.

Historical Overview

There was a time when Japanese cars were new for European and American markets and people were skeptical about these cars. But, with the passage of time, everything changed. Japanese automakers Honda, Toyota and Nissan gained their foothold outside of their domestic market. They started making strides in some other markets. It was due to their association with long-lasting vehicles.

It is no doubt that Japanese cars rank higher when it comes to reliability. Although many European and American cars makers have improved their quality, the Japanese are still ahead. Many car brands from Japan are still the top brands when it comes to reliability.

But the real question is about, what Japanese do that other does not?

History of Japanese Car Manufacturing

It was Henry Ford who pioneered mass production model in the United States. After the world war, two economy of Japan was not ready to replicate this mass production model. Some European and American factories had subscribed to this mass-production model of the United States. But the Japanese system, on the other hand, looked old school.

Japan had gone through a war phase and going through the rebuilding process. Japanese workers were too conscious about their work. They knew that the chance for error was less. It was reflected in the way that upon spotting a mistake it was to be fixed before it was too far in the build.

A mass production process was different. Issues were only dealt with when after the car came off the line. Sometimes it was too late for an issue to be fixed.

Toyota Production System

Toyota Production System

This approach gave birth to Toyota Production System. It was a socio-technical system aimed at the production of vehicles and reduction of wastage. Today, it is considered, more than any other factor, responsible for what the company is today.

This system is attributed to an American who was sent to Japan for the rebuilding after world war two. He was W. Edwards Deming.

This strategy just changed everything. It increased focus on quality. Instead of building and firing countless of vehicles lines, Toyota focused only on what was needed. It focused mainly on what was needed and only at the time. It was aimed at reducing the wastage and unnecessary costs.

Soon after that, much of the country adopted this approach. Other can also be seen mixing things up.  Countries are trying to mix things up. It is even visible in shared-platform construction.

Many say that Japanese brands get their highly appreciated reliability at the cost of being conservative. They say that the Japanese are more conservative when it comes to adopting new technologies.  

It reflects in the consumer reports that the reliability of many European and American cars is due to more cutting-edge and advanced technologies like modern electronics. An example from Toyota is that it sells cars with four-speed automatic transmission in many parts of the world, while many cars manufactured by European automakers offer dual-clutch technology with advanced design.

Reports even say that many other manufacturers that offer less reliable cars might also be more equipped, more efficient or better to drive.

But, here are some exceptions. Toyota is going to pioneer hydrogen powertrain technology and Nissan is having stood at the forefront of performance car technology for a number of years now.  

European cars, on the other hand, may not be as reliable as Japanese cars, but it is a guarantee that these cars will be packed with exciting new technologies. It is a major difference between both markets. European and American cars are more luxurious, exciting and quality.

Toyota later added more features and improved the quality. American cars also lack DIY features as compared to Japanese cars which are easy to be handled.

Refining and streamlining the process makes they better getting these vehicles manufactured.

Why are Japanese Cars Considered better than American Cars?

Japanese cars vs american cars

It has been established that Japanese cars are better than American cars when it comes to reliability. But, there are some other points that are also worth considering.

Here are some other reasons:

  • Management in Honda and Toyota is stable means people are in charge for many years. Some even remain in the same department for their careers.  Moreover, Honda and Toyota develop their leaders from their engineer ranks.
  • Americans keep changing their management because they want to increase their profit. American companies hire peoples who can increase their sales.
  • Honda and Toyota do not demand bid changes during every redesign. This stable approach provides the opportunity to improve the system rather than reinventing the vehicles after some years.
  • In American, Due to more fluid management and expectations generally favoring dramatic improvement, engineers are not given enough chance to focus enough on the improvement of the quality.
  • Dramatic changes happen in the management of American automakers. With every change in the management, we see a dramatic change in direction, resource allocation etc.
  • Shareholders play a major role in the decision making of American automakers. Management team remains under pressure to increase the profit. It also affects the engineers who start focusing on improving profit rather than quality.
  • Due to so much focus on quarterly reporting, US automakers often struggle to embrace long-term planning.
  • Due to the American mindset, Ford and Chrysler feel that employees need to move every 18-24 months.
  • Japanese have a focus on increasing the honor of their products.
  • Japanese put effort into design and research while Americans, on the other hand, focus on something stylish and trendy.
  • Recent developments also show American used cars at a good place. Americans are improving their ranking over the days.
  • Japanese spends more time in the engineering of products to last longer may not choose to replace things so easily.

It is no doubt that Japanese cars are better than American cars when it comes to reliability and durability.  But, American cars are better when it comes to having modern technology. There are some exceptions as Toyota is focusing on hydrogen-powered vehicles.


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