While the British automobile industry has shrunk over recent decades, the Asian car industry has gone from strength to strength. Ever since the 1970s, the Asian car industry has had a huge influence on the British market. Now Asian cars and Japanese cars especially, are some of the most popular in the world.
Popular Japanese cars
Although Asia boasts a number of important car-manufacturing nations, including China and South Korea, its Japanese cars that have had the biggest influence on the British market over the last few decades.
The auto industry in Japan dates back to the early twentieth century. Japanese companies initially partnered with European manufacturers, but in the run up to World War II more manufacturers began to design their own vehicles.
The Japanese car industry boomed in the 1970s, and although Japan is no longer the largest manufacturer in the world, having been overtaken by China and the United States, it’s still responsible for some of the most well-known car manufacturers. These include Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi amongst others.
Mitsubishi is one of the most important car manufacturers. The company itself was founded in 1870 by Yataro Iwasaki as a shipping company, and it’s famous for producing the first Japanese mass-produced car in 1917: the Mitsubishi Model A. Some of its other most important models include the Lancer Evolution and the i-MiEV, which was one of the first electric cars.
Influence on the British market
The Asian influence on the British automobile market really began in the 1970s. Until then, the British car industry was booming. In 1939 there were 20 car makers in the UK, and brands like Rolls-Royce gained a reputation for quality all over the world.
However, things began to change after World War II, and the situation became worse in the 1970s due to high inflation and the oil crisis.
Asian cars became popular because they were small, fuel efficient and cheap. This was when Japanese manufacturers began to see the potential of manufacturing cars abroad, and in July 1986 Nissan opened a plant in Sunderland, which was the first European plant for a Japanese company (a plant which is soon to expand). Honda and Toyota were some of the other major manufacturers to build plants, and Asian cars became more popular than ever.
Asian cars are still popular in the UK
Over the following years, Japan’s innovative designers created some of the most popular cars of all time, including the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic, the Toyota 2000GT and the Nissan Skyline GT-R. With a reputation for reliability, durability and good value, Japanese and Asian cars like Toyota and Mitsubishi are still very popular with British motorists, and they are certain to remain popular for many years to come.