Japan’s ability to produce popular, reliable, and affordable cars throughout the 1990s resulted in Japan becoming the largest car-producing nation in the world in 2000 (JAMA). This growth was led by passenger car exports and can be credited to various factors including; the improved performance of Japanese cars, due partly to the rise of technological levels of manufacturing; competitive pricing due to cost reductions that follow mass production; and the long-term market development strategies of Japanese manufacturers (JAMA).
In 2011, Japan has seen disruption like never before (Taylor,2011). Earthquakes and tsunamis have not only created direct damage, there are secondary effects. The impacts of the disaster have truly been felt globally, being felt as far as Europe.
Growth of the Industry
Japan’s postwar era officially ended in 1955, entering the first stage of long-term economic growth. Car purchases rose with this growth as personal income increased. By 1958, cars bought for personal use had doubled (54.5% of cars sold compared to 25.2% in 1955) with individual demand outweighing business demand for cars for the first time (JAMA).
Substantial cuts in prices made cars increasingly affordable, these were made possible through expansions and improvements in manufacturing operations and the establishment of a mass-marketing system (JAMA).
Special-purpose automatic transfer machines were the main focus in regards to investments in equipment. Manufacturers started concentrating on introducing these machines in 1955 and applied them in the creation of engine parts (JAMA). Each company also began to apply the just-in-time system to their manufacturing processes. These changes helped create the rapid automation of Japans automobile production system (JAMA).
To improve production line management, digital technology was introduced. The use of digital technology for specific tasks was broadened when operations went on line, in short creating the computerization of the entire manufacturing process (JAMA). New robot technologies were also gradually implemented throughout the 1970s, which removed humans from dangerous operations in the manufacturing process (JAMA).
The Japanese automobile export market grew steadily from a 51.9% share in 1965 to 73% in 1971 (JAMA). This growth was led by passenger car exports and can be credited to various factors including; the improved performance of Japanese cars, due partly to the rise of technological levels of manufacturing; competitive pricing due to cost reductions that follow mass production; and the long-term market development strategies of Japanese manufacturers.
Japan’s oil crisis in 1973 slowed years of rapid growth to a halt and greatly affected the automobile industry (JAMA). Although, despite the resulting recession, demand for Japan’s small fuel-efficient car in the United States and rapidly expanding markets in the Middle East sent Japan’s automobile exports on to a new level of international growth.
Towards the end of the 1960s Japanese manufacturers began contributing to social welfare and public interest activities through special foundations (JAMA). Manufacturers also contributed by sponsoring sport and cultural activities; and language and scholarship programs overseas.
The Japanese automobile industry has identified and is addressing issues within environmental protection and resource conservation that the industry has impacted (JAMA). This includes the further reduction of harmful motor vehicle exhaust emissions, protection of the ozone layer by discontinuing the use of CFCs and trichloroethane, increased fuel efficiency, increased efficiency in plants and infrastructure to reduce air, water and noise pollution, and the development of alternative-energy vehicles (JAMA). Recycling is also an important issue considered by the industry. New measures are constantly being implemented to improve vehicle recycling and recycling within the production process.
The government has introduced various traffic safety laws and Japanese automobile manufacturers have worked vigorously to pursue programs to ensure measures are taken to uphold the safety of vehicle users (JAMA).
The development of international alliances has been well received as the globalization of the industry moves forward (JAMA). Alliances have become increasingly beneficial in lowering costs and the Japanese automobile industry has linked themselves globally with a wide variety of overseas manufacturers. International cooperation has resulted in lowered costs and improved efficiency as well as allowing the transfer of important technical and marketing information (JAMA).
Slowly, increasing disposable incomes and political alterations have resulted in increased motorization (JAMA). International alliances are an effective way to react to these trends and will continue to be effective as automobile industries expand to meet demand in ever-changing markets.