Mazda cars are Japanese

Japanese cars: the approach has always been a little different

The Koreans' successful technological catch-up and the discussions about the economic potential of the Chinese auto world have clouded the view of the number one auto nation in Asia a little. The Japanese approach to the automobile is still fascinating, especially since it arises from a completely different world.

The term "lean production" was coined as early as the 1980s. While GM still needed 31 hours to manufacture a car, the Toyota managed in 16. In the following years, too, many innovation impulses came from Japan. It was this pressure that made the European, and especially the German, auto industry really strong. Without the Japanese, there would probably be no modular construction kits in the VW Group.

The core of the strategy: think for a long time, think carefully, weigh meticulously, then check, square, double check in many loops, but after the decision, stick with it, even when strong winds blow from all possible directions.

With this strategy, Toyota has brought the hybrid drive onto an unprecedented track of success, and it is making the most environmentally friendly cars in the world seemingly simple like washers. There is basically no fear of contact with complex technical solutions, it looks more like looking for something complicated, maybe also so that nobody gets the idea to imitate something.

Technological projects and attempts by Japanese companies are running again and again, in which they use their island location to their advantage. The alliance between Nissan and Renault appears to be more of an exception and its current difficult situation as confirmation of the strategy of preferring to develop economic power in one's own country. Acquisitions and mutual investments between Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki are a long-running hit in business news. Cooperations with companies outside of Japan are usually entered into with the greatest care and predominantly in technological fringe areas.

In view of the US proposals in the direction of autonomous driving, in view of the pressure that also comes from the telecommunications giants, the Japanese are now also trying to develop their own systems in order to maintain or regain independence.

This starts with our own data transfer systems for vehicle production, continues through map data for navigation systems and mobility services to the development of entire self-driving cars. In order to adequately counter the pressure from the USA in autonomous driving, attempts are being made to increase development speeds with open source solutions, for example. This is also the point at which the joining of forces with European manufacturers can work.

While Korean manufacturers are skillfully adjusting to the European market, the Japanese are uncompromisingly sticking to their line in model policy - and are still very successful, not only globally, also with us. (Rudolf Skarics, November 2nd, 2019)