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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Jeep's Good Fortune in Japan

    American automakers can't seem to make any headway in Japan, except for one.

    Japan is a notorious market for American automakers to make a dent in. Ford called it quits last year, while GM sells a meager number of models; Cadillac sold 327 and Chevrolet moved 373 models last year. Critics say "nontariff barriers" are the key reason as to why Detroit hasn't been able to make any headway. Talk with people in Japan and it is a different story, there is still a perception of American models having poor quality and having to fork out a fair amount of cash to keep them maintained.

    But there is an exception. Jeep has been able to carve out a nice niche in Japan's marketplace. The brand is consistently in the top 10 of foreign automakers and sales have been climbing. 2017 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year of sales growth in the country. Through August, Jeep moved 6,344 models.

    But getting to this point took a lot of work and money.

    "We have to spend money and engineering hours to do it, but we think it's worth it," said FCA Japan CEO Pontus Haggstrom to Automotive News.

    "They are things that make our jobs harder and make it more expensive and time consuming to bring cars to Japan. But are they trade barriers? My honest opinion is, no. Are they excuses for why I can't sell or succeed in Japan? No."

    Jeep has been making efforts to make their models more appealing to Japanese customers.

    • Tweaking drivetrains to qualify for Japan's eco-car incentives
    • Offering right-hand drive models
    • Equipping models with folding side mirrors and factory-installed Japanese navigation systems.
    • Doubling their marketing budget since 2010
    • Refurbishing or redesigning more than 50 showrooms by 2018

    The last one is important as previous Jeep dealers in the country were basically what you find in dealers in the U.S.

    "It's more about the brand and less about the origin," says Haggstrom.

    Jeep also has an ace up its sleeve that many automakers wished they had, brand equity.

    "The image of American cars as low-quality still persists here, even though a bit underserved. But Jeep has the most brand equity of any American brand. Japan shows it has a global following," said Christopher Richter, an auto analyst with CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Tokyo.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    Edited by William Maley

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    Talk with people in Japan and it is a different story, there is still a perception of American models having poor quality and having to fork out a fair amount of cash to keep them maintained.

     

    THAT has got to be the most ironic thing Ive heard this year!   ahem...ahem..cough...Toyopet...cough...cough...

    Sorry...I had something stuck in my throat.

    I think its more to do with other countries (Japanese, Germans, French..)actually being/having more nationalistic pride in their automotive industry than Americans do with theirs...

    And what I just said NOW has got to be the most ironic statements Ive heard all year!

    ahem...ahem..cough..."Merica! Phoque YEAH!!!...Lets Make America Great Again!"..cough...cough...

    Sorry...I had something stuck in my throat again!!!

    Its such a strange feeling...all of this!

     

    Edited by oldshurst442
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    It is true that citizens of Japan and Europe are far more patriotic (or nationalistic) in the auto purchases than Americans ever were, even as far back as the 1970s.  Before 1970, foreign-made cars were less than ten percent of all US car sales.  Now it is at least 50% or more.  I honestly wonder why (a lot of) Baby Boomers especially decided that buying American was suddenly a bad idea.  Virtually nowhere else does buying foreign-made anything sound better than here in the good old USA.  I wonder why.

    As for Jeep's success in Japan, that news is welcome.  I suspect everything listed AND a true unique selling point are why Jeep is so successful in the Far East.

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    2 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    It is true that citizens of Japan and Europe are far more patriotic (or nationalistic) in the auto purchases than Americans ever were, even as far back as the 1970s.  Before 1970, foreign-made cars were less than ten percent of all US car sales.  Now it is at least 50% or more.  I honestly wonder why (a lot of) Baby Boomers especially decided that buying American was suddenly a bad idea.  Virtually nowhere else does buying foreign-made anything sound better than here in the good old USA.  I wonder why.

    As for Jeep's success in Japan, that news is welcome.  I suspect everything listed AND a true unique selling point are why Jeep is so successful in the Far East.

    Yeah, at times they seem to be doing better everywhere but the us.....

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    2 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Oddly the article didn't mention the actual sales numbers.  

    Oops, I thought had I that in the story. I have added that number to the story.

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