Chrysler To Enter America's Favorite Closed Market

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
chrysler to enter americas favorite closed market

Japan, everyone’s favorite closed market, is about to get a couple new products from Chrysler, which will return to the market after a nearly four year absence.

Just-Auto reports that the first Pentastar products introduced will be the 300 and the Lancia-based Ypsilon, badged as a Chrysler. The Ypsilon will come with Fiat’s TwinAir 0.9L two-cylinder engine, while the 300’s large size and large displacement engines likely won’t help it endear itself to Japanese consumers.

Foreign cars, save for tier-one luxury brands, traditionally struggle in Japan for one reason; conformity. The Japanese place a high value on this trait, and buying a foreign car is often equated with some sort of iconoclastic statement. But there are exceptions to the rule – a European luxury car or sports car is appropriate, and anything British tends to get a pass (witness the success of Mini and Lotus in Japan). Volkswagen has also been enjoying some success with its Up! minicar.

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  • KixStart KixStart on Nov 19, 2012

    While the Japanese do seem to value conformity... perhaps this has as much to do with what's on offer as their tendencies? From what I've seen of Japan's streets, this looks like it might be rather unique and, like the PT Cruiser, might develop a following. But does it get good gas mileage? Perform well? Is it efficiently packaged? In those dimensions, it's up against some stiff competition. Then there are other issues and the resemblance to the PT brings one to mind... serviceability. I popped the hood of a PT, once, and dropped all thought of buying one. It looked as though there was absolutely not space in the engin bay large enough to accomodate my hand alone, let alone two hands, a tool and a part. How will it stack up on things like that?

  • Togoshiman Togoshiman on Nov 19, 2012

    Uh, the Japanese widely believe that American cars are not particularly well-made or reliable. Unfortunately, they have a lot of good reasons to support that conclusion (notwithstanding tremendous gains of the last ten years). There are pockets of interest in certain luxury cars (gangsters) or classic American muscle, but not mainstream support. And, really, why should there be with a dozen local companies producing great cars? I honestly cannot imagine that America's third brand will be able to crack this nut. This strategy looks like it is based upon wishful thinking or a complete failure to understand the local market. Or both. Source: I live in Japan and have for many years.

    • See 5 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 20, 2012

      @challenger2012 Sensible points Togoshiman.

  • BigMeats BigMeats on Nov 19, 2012

    What a lame fail this will be. An egregious inversion of "hit 'em where they ain't". And as for Japanese "conformity", how many Americans would even consider a foreign car back when we were riding high? There was only a tiny niche market in urban/university areas from 1945 till the late 70's.

  • Ccode81 Ccode81 on Nov 20, 2012

    The reason why Suzuki and Mitsubishi are un succesful in States mostly apply to why Detroits are unsuccessful in Japan. Line up are not what market wants, Dealer network is weak, Depreciation is awful, Client base are unfavorable to mass (American cars are only popular to bad boys wanna be in Japan). Though I would be buying Lancia Thema if anything came to used car market at attractive price, as Italian car lover. But Chrysler, that doesn't sound sexy at all. Wrong move.