Competition is the cornerstone of the American way of life. Driving the price of goods down and leveling out the playing field of the supply and demand that drives our ecomomy.
Japanese car manufacturers gained a huge competitive foothold in the American car market. How did they put such a big dent in the Detroit car industry? They did not replicate a Ford, stick their logo on it and call it a Datsun. They analyzed the American car market, picked it apart finding the strengths and weaknesses then they reinvented it.
In the height of the gas crisis circa 1975, American car makers were producing beautiful super-sized gas guzzlers. Japan was producing small compact cars, cheap and good on gas. This capitalized on the need for efficency and fuel ecomony, a weakness of the American auto industry. While the American car makers were laughing at these ugly little inventions, the Japanese improved upon their product, steamlined them and made them more reliable than American cars. Within a few years the number of imports on the road surpassed the domestic car market. The big wigs in Detroit started looking at the facts and the figures and realized that if they did not make changes quickly they would lose the entire marketshare to their Asian competitors.
So, back they went to the drawing boards and came up with a line of compact cars to compete with their Japanese counterparts. It took another couple of years and several Toyota dissections later to figure out how to make American cars more reliable. By that time Japan, had figured out that an attractive car is just as attractive as price to American buyers.
The market has leveled itself out with domestic car sales just about on par with imports. There are other imports seeping into the marketplace with new fangled looks, features and options. The Japanese car manufacturers manage to retain a slight advantage in the market with resale value slightly higher than American cars, I believe based solely on reputation of reliability.
A Datsun is the former brand name of Nissan Motors Corporation. I owned a very used Datsun many years back. The car was a rust bucket, but it was still running as it fell apart from the pot holes on the Belt Parkway. I managed to make it home and the muffler fell off as I shut off the car. I called the junk yard and actually got a few bucks for the engine which had well over 100K miles on it.
These days I am quite content with my American minivan.
Thank you for reading my rantings.