By on January 17, 2015

uk auto market share chart 2014We haven’t shied away from discussing the error of Volkswagen USA’s ways here on TTAC nor the results of those ways. Yet while the brand saw its U.S. market share fall from a measly 2.6% in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014 and group-wide market share fell from 3.9% to 3.6%, year-over-year, VW Group market share in the United Kingdom grew by half a percentage point to 20.7% in 2014.

True, the Volkswagen brand itself saw its market share fall despite year-over-year volume growth of 4%. Volkswagen is the UK’s third-best-selling brand behind Ford and GM’s Vauxhall.

Audi ranks fourth, 10,109 sales ahead of BMW in 2014. Skoda and SEAT generated 25% of the VW Group’s UK volume last year. Porsche volume jumped 11% to 9160 units, more than Jeep, Chrysler, and Chevrolet combined.

Yes, it’s a bit of a different market across the pond. Bentley sells half as many vehicles in the UK home market as they do in the U.S., although the U.S. market is nearly seven times the size.

The Ford Fiesta was the UK’s best-selling car in 2014, the sixth consecutive year in which the Fiesta landed atop the leaderboard. The best-selling Volkswagen was the Golf, with a 14% YOY increase to 73,880 units, 57,374 units back of the top-ranked Fiesta; 7903 sales back of the third-ranked Vauxhall Astra.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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167 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Auto Brand Market Share In The United Kingdom In 2014...”


  • avatar
    kovakp

    This is absolutely comical. How did Toyota and Honda fail here?

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The UK driver may actually enjoy driving and appreciates a car engineered for that experience. They may not make that purchase solely on reputation of being a good car. Toyota in North America has done some amazing marketing. They continue to rank low in comparison tests and quality, yet keep on selling like crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        kovakp

        Ah, that must explain it. Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Also, there is somewhat of a different lineup for the Asian automakers in Europe – where H/K outsell the Japanese Big 3 (which is not different from Canada or for that matter, Austalia, where Hyundai has been booming, but lagging behind due to supply issues).

        Mazda sales, on the other hand, have been booming in Europe and that’s with a smaller lineup (hence the greater appreciation for driving dynamics and dash stroking).

        Again, this is more similar the Canadian and Aussie auto markets where Mazda also does well.

        Nissan actually does pretty well in Europe, esp. the UK, where the Qashqai and the Juke are big sellers as smaller CUVs have been eating into the hatch market.

        • 0 avatar
          vwgolf420

          I’ve been fortunate and have taken a few low budget solo trips to Europe in the past five years and my non-scientific observations in regards to Japanese cars was that in all of them except France Toyota was the most popular. In France it was Nissan hands down with Toyota coming up in second place. In the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal it was Toyota and then Nissan. In Germany Toyota might have had the edge, but there were a lot of Mazdas. In Ireland, it looked like Toyota would be third, as a whole, behind VW and Ford. The taxis in Dublin are most Toyota Avensis or VW Passat. I saw a few Hondas in the UK and in the Netherlands, but only one in Germany. I saw a couple of Subarus with Swiss plates in Munich and one Outback in London and it looked wildly out of place. Nothing though looked more out of place than the Nissan pickup I saw near my hotel almost every morning I was in Paris.

    • 0 avatar
      romismak

      This is Europe, not NA, Japanese are here not among big players, Toyota is medium size player and Honda is among smaller brands in most countries. Toyota has good position in few countries but overall in Europe they are not major brand, this year 12th behind Skoda which was behind Toyota last year, not comparable to Toyota´s position in US for example

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        It’s hard for many North Americans to grasp that Europe isn’t dominated by Asian brands like NA is

        • 0 avatar
          kovakp

          Has to be protectionism along with maybe some J-hate?

          • 0 avatar
            romismak

            No protectionism – at least not in way like Japan, Korea have, EU+EFTA countries are open markets you can import whatever you want + they all have plants here, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia -overall Asian brands all produce here + import cars from their home JAP,KOR plants + Turkey, India and so on. Europe is simply dominated by national brands, major markets like Germany, France, UK, Italy have domestic brands + brands from neighbor countries with reputation there for decades, Toyota is doing great in Scandinavia and Greece if i am correct so in countries with no particular ,,national,, champs – except Volvo of course in SWE + there are different reasons like hybrid vehicles in Norway for example and Greece being unique with their ports and imports for decades.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Buy ‘urup, Yeah!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            During the 1970s and 80s, while the Japanese were building market share in the US, European auto producing nations had quotas and tariffs to minimize Japanese market penetration. Even now, the EU maintains a 10% import tariff on cars (versus the US’ 2.5% car tariff.) The barriers had the effect of restraining market share.

            I would say that the OPEC crisis also helped. In the US, the oil embargo and rising prices in the 70s motivated some consumers to switch to imports in order to use less gas, which led to a permanent change in tastes. The Europeans were already producing small cars and driving them when oil prices began to escalate, so there was less motivation to switch brands.

            Reliability is also less important. Europeans drive less than Americans, so mileage-related problems show up later in Europe than here. There is also a cons1derable company car (lease) market, so many new car drivers are lessees and won’t own the cars long enough to experience the pain of long-term ownership.

            I do think that the Japanese also haven’t quite figured out what Europeans want as well as they have with the Americans. Europeans perceive VW as a quality brand and find it to be desirable, even though reliability surveys in Europe don’t support that sentiment.

          • 0 avatar
            romismak

            No Japan hate:D US cars are basically non-existent in Europe. It´sjust we have our carmakers many really many brands, yet they all produce here – Toyota with plants in FR, UK, JV in CZE maybe some other countries in EU+EFTA too. Major markets that make 80% of EU+EFTA sales are DE,FR,UK,IT,ES
            DE-VAG,Daimler,BMW controlling i think 2/3 of market
            FR-PSA+Renault about 50% of market
            IT-FCA 25-30%
            UK-,,home,, Ford+Vauxhall+British brands 30% i think
            ESP- home Seat + FR brands, Opel, Ford all producing there over half of market

            so it´s almost impossible for foreigners to take market share, since 1990 i think Japanese market share is always from 14%-to 12-to 13% the same unchanged – look at ACEA website Western Europe passenger cars sales since 1991 i think stats

          • 0 avatar
            romismak

            Pch101

            Pretty good answer, i think you are correct in most points

            I would say Europe doesn´t see Japanese brands as superior – like Americans think – superior longetivity, gas mileage and this stuff, in Europe we have many quality brands with small cars, quality engines – diesels, gasolines whatever, full package so nobody cares about Japanese. Interresting is that in last 2and half decade Japanse have about the same market share, while in Europe is clear shift in 3 ways

            1st-premium brands market share is i think 2x as big as in 1990
            2nd-value brands are doing great – Skoda, Dacia – this has to do maybe with crisis too
            3rd-korean were non-existent back than now Hyundai/Kia with plants in SVK and CZE are also relevant, so this 3 ways take about 20% of market away from mainstream EU brands like Fiat, Opel since 1990, Japanese have the same market share just look ACEA website since 1990 stats

          • 0 avatar
            kovakp

            Thanks for the replies.

            So, it seems that a unique confluence of circumstances in the ’70s and ’80s gave the NA market an enormous soft underbelly for Japan Inc to target. That opportunity wouldn’t and couldn’t be replicated elsewhere, not even recently in China due to additional reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The Japanese just had the right product at the right moment. I think it’s common knowledge that timing is a huge contributing factor in many success stories

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “in Europe we have many quality brands with small cars, quality engines”

            As I said, Europeans have yet to figure out that VWs aren’t particularly well built. Americans are far better attuned to this reality, in part because they have more motivations to care.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Here are a few factors that European friends have told me.

            First: diesels. Japanese cars have second-rate diesel motors (mostly).

            Second: style and finish. Americans have a much higher tolerance for cheap looking interiors.

            Third: handling. Most Japanese cars just don’t handle as well as their European competitors. Speed limits are generally higher in Europe (130 km/h, or 80 mph), roads are narrower, and many areas are quite mountainous.

            Fourth: Japanese brands haven’t targeted their models to European consumers as they have to American consumers. Nissan is the exception here with their Qashqai (I think it’s pronounced “Cash Cow”) and Micra.

            Also, most Japanese brands don’t have enough market presence. There’s not enough dealers, so they are harder to buy and service. Europeans also like to custom-order their cars, which doesn’t work if the factory is halfway around the planet.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            No – Nissan does very well with its small CUVs, the Qashqai and Juke and Mazda sales are booming.

            Just when it comes to lineups, others do it better than Toyota and Honda in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            romismak

            Pch101

            Nobody is talking about VW – which is normal brand, not bad not great, i meant here are really many brands – enough to choose from with small cars, large cars, SUV´s anything from any segment with great gasoline and diesel engines so there is no point to go for Japanese product, when you have enough good brands here with history. After all how i said in my other post with Japanese having the same % of market share like 2.5decade ago means they actually outperformed most EUR mainstream brands that actually lost shares over the years like Opel, Fiat for example -with those bransd being far bigger 20 years ago % market share wise. US is different case with all those american cars with big engines and thirsty for gasoline so logically with increasing oil prices and reliable Japanese products people switched – now look at what is happening in the US with low gas prices, people again go for pickups and big SUV´s – for US brands again – in Europe you don´t see such shifts based on oil prices

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Spot on, protectionism and Asian envy/ hatred are factors

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            I just don’t buy this notion that Americans are like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to reliability. Consumer reports has ranked Ford, Hyundai, Dodge, and Nissan all worse than VW in brand reliability for the past 2 years running, yet all those brands occupy spots on every short list of top selling cars in the US I can find.

            I think it’s intellectually lazy to continue pounding the VW sucks theme when clearly it’s not 2005 anymore, but whatever.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Here’s a NYT article from 1995 that explains the situation with Japanese imports in Europe at the time: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/28/business/for-japan-auto-makers-it-s-tougher-in-europe.html

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Here’s a NYT article from 1995 that explains the situation with Japanese imports in Europe at the time: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/28/business/for-japan-auto-makers-it-s-tougher-in-europe.html

            A case of what else is new ? Europeans did it and the U.S. does it . A case of the kettle calling the pot black

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Everyone has a hobby. Robert’s is not knowing what he’s talking about.

            For what it’s worth, he’s really good at it.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “Even now the Europeans have 10% we have only 2.5 %” You know how to tell, some very tall tales. UAW must brainwash their Trolls, as well.
            Too bad the standards are totally different , but you keep regurgitating the same tired BS. Maybe they pay you more in the Office, if you keep repeating the “party line”
            Most from Europe would find your paid rantings amusing

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In the wacky world of Robert Ryan, 10% is a lower figure than 2.5%.

            He can’t really be this dumb. This must be some kind of Aussie blue-collar performance art.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            How many Aussies does it take to screw in a light bulb?

            .

            Light bulb?

            .

            Makes your head hurt a little, doesn’t it?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @PCH101 would have to ask the Union if that could cause a demarcation dispute first. Then he would get 10 Union workers to help him, We tend to use one person here

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @Pch101

            Ha, ha, did you really think you could fool RobertRyan with that silly light bulb joke?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Who needs light bulbs when we have beer? Or something like that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Special” mushrooms? Whatever it is it must be good ’cause everyone there loves ’em

          • 0 avatar
            spreadsheet monkey

            Yes, so much “J-hate” that Toyota, Nissan and Honda all have large manufacturing plants in the UK. The Nissan plant in particular is seen as a major success and is one of the largest employers in an economically-depressed part of the country.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          In fact it is hard for North Americans to get a grasp in what happens outside North America, as they basically to start with do not have a clue
          I have asked many physically and online, about Automotive aspects and they have no idea

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If Europeans had reliable cars, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The very notion of reliability is different in Europe. Cars are much more expensive to buy there.
        Our notion of a reliable car is one that requires very little maintenance until one day it just gives up. When that happens, you buy another.

        Europeans are more used to cars that last for a really long time, but they don’t mind paying money to maintain them. Most countries have mandatory inspections that force you to keep your car in top shape, and they test cars in depth. Stuff like brake torque and suspension frequency get tested, which means that you can’t just throw on a set of cheap pads and shocks.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          The average car in the EU is 8.3 years old. In the US, it is 11.4 years old. In other words, you’re dreaming in your disposable eurotrash. In the countries that do have stringent inspection standards, the lifespans of cars are even shorter because they’re not worth trying to keep legal. i.e. English MOT keeps average age to only 7.3 years.

          • 0 avatar
            chaparral

            Yes. It may be a difference in tastes and needs over there compared to here.

            Good long-term durability for a car in the American market is what keeps a ten-year-old car worth a quarter of its new price – enough to maintain. It keeps the lower-income owner out of the poorhouse and off the bus. It aids resale value all the way back to the first owner. Since Toyota is good at it (and has been for a while) they can use it to gain sales against manufacturers of lesser reputations or ability.

            Good long-term reliability in Europe can be helpful, but ten-year-old mass market cars of any marque have depreciated to the point of disposability. Kinda-OK equipment that passes inspection here (old GM cars that would run badly longer than most cars would run at all, modern Toyotas that will continue to roll down the road with every bushing shot and slop in every bearing) fails a stricter inspection and is scrapped. Lower-income car owners practice “bangernomics” instead – buy a car with a long time left on the inspection sticker, run it until it drops or fails. Being driveable and useful after an MoT or TuV failure is of little value, so it’s off to the boneyard either way.

            Who’s right? Probably the Americans. Waste not, want not, and mechanical failure causes fewer than 10% of crashes.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            CJ,

            You are forgetting that the cars that fail inspection often get exported to less stringent countries, either in the former Eastern Block (Albania has the highest percentage of Mercedes in the world) or in Africa. The average age of cars in Europe is less, but the average lifespan may not be, given that a good portion of cars enjoy a second life outside of Europe.

            The US mostly exports used cars as scrap metal, so those age statistics are measuring different things. European cars will often be taken of the books when they still have lots of life left in them. Same thing happens in Japan where lightly used cars are sent overseas.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @CJInSD
            Combination of salt on the roads and MOT tests. Even late 1990’s early 2000’s Cadillac Devilles end up as “Banger Cars” in British and European small oval paved and clay racing
            http://www.steamin.in/RDC/150705158.jpg
            Here is another Banger car that used to be US limousine, more late 70’s early 80’shttp://farm4.static.flickr.com/3221/2665960839_73d666feae.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Even in reliability surveys in Europe, VW is not a particularly strong performer. But the European consumer is less inclined to make a purchase decision that corresponds to survey results.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            http://www.anusedcar.com/index.php/tuv-report-year-age/2013-8-9/308

            German TUV inspection results drop the hammer on fantasies about German engineering and quality. Only the Porsche 911 holds up through the years like a Japanese car, and that’s only because they don’t rack up kilometers like sedans do.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Probably would blow CJinSD’s mind that Hyundai took the no.1 spot for AutoBild’s reliability rankings 2 yrs in a row.

            But the Euros care more for driving dynamics, quality of interior, etc. than the typical American driver and these days with the rise of reliability across the board, the difference in reliability rankings isn’t as material.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Zykotec – What do you cons!der “high miles” yearly? You know heat kills, so driving around in a ‘refrigerator’ has to be best thing for cars. And would leasing “foreign” company cars be acceptable, especially with so many more government positions/jobs?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Same as in US, PR, brand loyalty win the day

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            http://blog.toyota.co.uk/toyota-tops-autobild-quality-report-reliability

            “The 2014 result represents the third consecutive time that Toyota has topped the magazine’s reliability ranking, and also the thirteenth time that Toyota has ranked inside the top 10.”

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            @DenverMike
            Anythign more than 10K-miles a year is above the average, when you get near twice that I think we are safely into highmileage territory.
            As there are no Norwegian built cars, It’s safe to assume all leased cars are foreign here, but usually a lease-deal (government or not) will be given to whoever gives the best total-deal, including service deals etc. Since the Europeans usually have a larger dealer network I guess that will help too.
            There are some complicated tax-rules for company cars, and car-benefits that also make a difference, since they divide cars into price groups, and if you get driving expenses covered by your company, you want the car that is the cheapest to run etc. Long story short, the larger dealer networks will always be in advantage.
            PS, my CR-V was originally a leased company car, so all rules still have exceptions.
            Edit: and offcourse the cold may help a bit, but then again you will have more cold starts, which is not so good, and we do a lot of short distance driving, which I think cancels that out. We just seem to like maintaining our cars, and we are reasonably good at doing it ourselves too when the warranty expires.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I must add, many European cars can go forever since all their parts are replaceable or serviceable, unlike some japanese cars. In some cases japanese cars reach a point where they just ‘die’ since all the parts are of the same quality, they wear out at the same time, unlike many European cars which randomly spread their repairs out over a much longer period of time.
          PS, here in Norway the average car is closer to the American cars in age, (I believe it’s 10.4 years old) which may explain why Toyota does a lot better here than in most of Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Or, it could be that the popularity of Toyotas is why you have a fleet that doesn’t get scrapped prematurely.

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            Valid theory, but the average age has actually declined a bit over the last two decades.
            The main factor is probably new car prices as they are taxed to death, so people maintain their cars extremely well over here to keep them from loosing resale value. If you go into a dealership to buy a 7 year old car here you expect it to look and drive almost like a new car. (and it will often have only depreciated 50% in those 7 years, depending on the miles driven)
            And Japanese cars are rarely high-mileage cars here. People who drive a lot (again a lot of these will have been company cars when new) expect better comfort than the Japanese can traditionally deliver.
            Diesel engines (that the Japanese traditionally haven’t been very good at)also usually go a lot longer than gas-engines. (which could be because people who drive a lot needs more economical engines)

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Although some Japanese cars and Pickups seemingly go forever. I have seen and heard of 1.5 million mile, not Kmh Hiluxes.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            Zykotec, the US perspective would be that it’s easier to get parts for Japanese cars, but mostly because they’re sold in much higher volume in the US. Another difference may be that the smallest Japanese cars may be disposable, but they’re such a tiny part of the US vehicle mix that they don’t affect brand perception. Nobody knows or cares if the Toyota Yaris is crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Brumus

        My sense from travelling in Europe in various rentals and co-worker cars is unless a vehicle in the EU has serious drivetrain issues, it’s considered reliable.

        Europeans seem to tolerate all manner of “minor” things going tit-ups in their cars, whereas in the US the same problem would piss off the owner and send him/her to the nearest chatroom to bitch about it.

        And the French will overlook pretty much ANY flaw in their Renaults, Peugeots or Citroens.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Seen some things on US roads, that would have been fined and impounded in Europe. Do similar things here

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Granted your IQ must be a little above 70 otherwise you could not write. The UAW PR comes over strong, total BS all the time

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Somehow your IQ drops too a point you cannot understand the inference. So a total difference in standards is somehow the same as 2.5%. Tell that to the U.S. Government, who are arguing for a FTA with Japan,but baulk at the different standards. We do have a FTA with Japan. Ford/UAW has been pressing your Government to get the Japanese to have the same standards as the US ,the Japanese are not listening
        Ford and the UAW are the only ones pressing for these changes. I wonder what Soap opera we will get when the EU and the U.S. do the same thing?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Strong resistance to buying ASIAN vehicles in UK, they lump them all together. Same mentality as US pickup buyers

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        We lump all our US trucks together out of envy of the Australian truck market. We can’t even special order our trucks with your standard Kangaroo Katchers

        I’d kill for a ute with the Crocodile Dundee Adventure package

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          I know,! If only you colld get Kangaroo Katchers, or in Central Australia, Camel Collision avoiders

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Your RVs are the best. If only we could get the top-of-the-line Priscilla Queen of the Desert Motorhome

            So classy

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            You maybe more correct than you realise as the World Congress of RV manufacturers is being held in Melbourne in Feb.
            Australia ranks 3rd in RV production behind the U.S. and Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            3rd? I would have guessed 1st with those fabulous Priscilla Drag-Wagons you have

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Lie2me
            I was surprised at that, but then you have companies like ARB organising the Overland Exhibitions in the US, so I guess not so surprising

  • avatar
    Joss

    PSA would kill for 7.5 in NA. Hy-KIA have overtaken the Japenese since 70’s.

    Shorter trips, pricier fuel & higher taxes. Brits fit in
    smaller cars they tend to be pale & skinny. You’ll see that in their pornography.

  • avatar
    kovakp

    “they tend to be pale & skinny”

    No meat, no pudding. There have to be rules.

  • avatar

    Big fish in a little pond, no?

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    For those who haven’t seen it yet, there’s an interesting BBC documentary about the demise of the British and the rise of the German auto industry:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7kSxARHyMo

    Pretty intriguing, IMHO.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    There are a lot of reasons why Japanese brands have not been able to ‘take over’ Europe yet.
    First of all, like some people have mentioned, the European cars weren’t as bad as the US cars when Japan learned to build cars. They more or less managed to destroy the British (with good help from Ford and GM(Vauxhall), but the rest of the car manufacturers managed to keep a lot of loyal followers, either because of nice craftmanship, design or quirky solutions, but one of the largest factors back then was a mix ergonomics and tradition. Most people take a decade or two to change their mind about a product here, so VW is still selling a lot of cars based on their reliability being better than Ford and Opel in the 80’s/90’s, and Audi is still looked on as a manufacturer of practical comfortable cars that can go everywhere.
    I’ve never hated Japanese cars myself, but they are difficult to ‘want’. I keep coming back to Honda because of stellar reliability, but they rarely make good seats, they are definitely more noisy and rattly than comparable European cars, the ergonomics are never ‘quite right\'(a bit unfair as I’m used to Fords), and parts are expensive whenever something fails (and something will fail eventually, especially since I’ve never owned anything newer that 7 years old)
    The few Japanese cars that are desirable, are mostly desirable because of their mechanical features, like in the case of the Integra Type R’s, NSX, Skyline GT-R’s or Subaru STi’s, and the only one of these that could work as a comfortable cruiser would be the GT-R, which was never sold in Europe, and Nissan has no other car in their lineup here that can cash in on some of that glory. (Subarus are popular here above the arctic circle though)
    Also, even if we love the diversity of the European brands and the possibility to make each car ‘special’ by optioning it out to a much larger degree than the Japanese brands (VW claims that they rarely build to Golfs that are identical), most of us also seem to be afraid of sticking out, so we buy the same brand as out neighbour/colleague/brother etc, but with different wheels, and maybe another interior or something.
    And then offcourse the smaller engines, especially diesels. Europeans love cars that take forever to reach 60mph, but can cruise effortlessly, cheaply and quietly at 100mph, even here in Norway where the speedlimit is 55mph. Hilariously high gas prices and tax on engine displacement, horsepower or even Co2 doesn’t exactly help either.
    And lastly, as we actually regularly service our newer cars, often at the deallership, cars break down less frequently, and smaller repairs don’t make that much of a difference in total owner costs, especially in the duration of the warranty.
    PS: offcourse VAG downright ‘owns’ a lot of journalists over here, but as there isn’t much evidence of it besides the odd scandal , and some seriously weird conclusions in comparison tests, I won’t even mention that :P

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Europeans love cars that take forever to reach 60mph”

      I can hardly wrap my American mind around this statement. It does not compute

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I was going to pipe in to defend my country from this slander, but then I thought of James Taylor in France. There’s nothing left to defend.

        • 0 avatar
          kovakp

          The dingiest campus open-mike in the US would have given him one for the guitar AND one to sing into.

          But it was a meta moment to watch the gleaming pate of a doddering old peacenik crooning into the soundhole. It just can’t get more emblematic.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Expensive fuel changes things.

        It should also be noted that unlike the US, European motorways/freeways are typically used only for travel between cities, not within towns. Local driving usually involves slower roads that don’t resemble interstates.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I admit there is a level of hyperbole here, but quick accelleration just isn’t a deal-breaker over here, as you’re not going to need a 6 second 0-60 car to be able to merge safely or enter into normal traffic. And with traditionally better suspension setups and better tires, you can still keep a decent average speed most places. Engine power is mostly regarded as uneccessary luxury and not a human right like in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          More like large Laneways in the UK. So they really need to be able to have great handling and road holding

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          No they have turn offs for major towns from the Freeways. Going from Village to Town that is a nightmare

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Europeans like European cars they are famililar with, very difficult to change brand allegiances. Notice that when you go to the various Countries in Europe

    • 0 avatar
      Joss

      In the mid-70’s the Japs did very well breaking into the UK market. They’re aged low tech beat the pants off Leyland with standard radios & rear defoggers. And something like a 6-month warranty when the norm was 6 weeks.

      30 years on the Koreans have taken over.

    • 0 avatar
      Buckshot

      “the only one of these that could work as a comfortable cruiser would be the GT-R, which was never sold in Europe”

      1. The GT-R can NOT work as a comfortable cruiser.
      2. You can buy a GT-R in Europe.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    I’m in the USA and I’ve been driving a Honda Civic since 2004 but when it was time to get a new car I opted for a VW Jetta TDI. I wouldn’t have considered it until driving a TDI Golf around Europe as a rental, but I was won over. The power trains are reliable and the VW is just, so much more car. Better feeling sitting it, nice sight lines, higher quality materials, very taut but well damped suspension, beefy and precise electro mechanical steering, thicker metal all around the car. At a 100 mph on the highway it is totally poised and controllable, whereas the Honda was scary at 80 mph. It is so much more quiet at speed. The turbo diesel makes for a stoic ride, quiet and effortless, enough power unless you want to take it to the track. I’m sure the VW will throw some weird problem at me eventually but I just didn’t want to be in another Asian car.

    That being said, if they sold the Honda Acty here I would buy one in a second. That is my dream (kei) car.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Nobody has mentioned dealer networks. The U.S. has its population spread over a vast country so small manufacturers cannot survive. Also, those brands that left decades ago can not afford to get back in. Consider why the Americans cannot choose Renaults, Alfas, Opels, Citroens, Dacias, Great Walls, Seats, Vauxhalls, Peugeots, Ssangyongs, Holdens, Morgans etc etc. until they became American, even Fiats would never have gotten a foothold.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The Japanese made headway into the US because they were able to find dealers who would add their product lines.

      European countries allow OEMs to sign dealership contracts that bar them from doing business with the competition. Those sorts of restrictions on trade are illegal in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Americans cannot choose…”

      Vauxhalls= GM

      Opels= GM

      Holden= GM

      Nice to see you did your homework

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Spike in Brisbane
      That is a major problem in the U.S. You need a large number of dealer outlets to get a proper coverage. The Japanese have been doing this for many years. One reason Toyota can now be in the position to outsell Ford

  • avatar

    The fact European cars are younger than US cars is news to me. I run a 25 year old car and miss seeing other older vehicles about the place. It makes the streets quite uniform. I don’t think people here (EU) have any problem with Japan. The cars tend to lack love-appeal though. I respect Toyota et al but nearly nothing they make has much charisma (the lovable Japanese cars stay in Japan!). Japanese interiors are often really dull. Ford, Audi, Renault and Fiat style some really nice ones as do Opel. The Insignia is a good example as is the Zafira.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Yeah, I think the average age of American cars may be skewed a bit by the large number of classics and antiques still driving (but only on Sundays when it doesn’t rain), not to mention all the Hot Rods and customs etc. There was a lot more cars on the road in the US pr capita than in Europe before WW2, and the US wasn’t bombed to bit during the war either. And then, while we were rebuilding after the war, the US had a massive boom in car production. It will take some time to use up all the 55 Chevys, ’65 Mustangs or even worse, the ’64 Chevys.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Are there really that many antiques that it would have an effect on the averages?

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          I don’t want to over-generalize, not every European lives in London, Paris and Rome, but there are a lot more places in the US where the cost of keeping an old car around is minimal.

          If your plates cost less than a tank of gas, you don’t have yearly inspection, your parking is nearly free, and your insurance company charges you almost nothing for a third or fourth car, you are more likely to keep an old banger around. That kind of situation s a lot more common in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            If you live in the South you never get rid of a car, when you through with one just pull it around back with the others

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I don’t see how, my DD H2 is an 03 with I believe a build date of June 2003, it was my first bought new vehicle. It’s all over the average of our average vehicle age and I don’t see me changing vehicles in the next several years, so long as every new vehicle produced is a compromise.
        Our new cars have become very expensive and Americans aren’t like Europeans in that many of us aren’t going to spend big money on a new purchase that doesn’t reflect that price in size and engine power. Even though I can afford the nice brand new 4 door 4×4 leather Duramax truck at $60,000 or whatever it is, I just can’t comprehend spending that much on something I don’t feel is worth it. I would sooner look for a 2003-2006 truck with all the options for 15k or so, that new was $38-42,000

        Likewise a very large number of vehicles on our road are 80-90s GM cars and trucks, and Ford trucks. There’s also a 60s chevy pickup nearby a older guys drives about everyday that is all dented up and still sporting what’s left of the original paint, and North Carolina isn’t a very dry area. I also see a handful of cars and trucks from the 1970s every week.
        Most of these people driving these older trucks are by no means poor, but waste not want not right? The people in older cars are a toss up as far as wealth. Either way many of these individuals could no doubt afford a new 7 series but for whatever reason keep on driving these much older vehicles that are severely dented and occasionally rusty. That’s old American iron for you, a little maintenance will go a long way.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      That doesn’t explain VW, those have to be the most boring cars on the planet, not to mention they all look the same they did 7 years ago. I can’t say I’ve recently even seen a VW in America with a color other white or silver. I’d much rather have a Accord* than a Passat as far as charismatic front wheel drive cars go.
      *I think our Accord may be different than Europe’s.

      Granted that’s on this side of the pond, I don’t know of any forbidden fruit Europe gets other than a truck that really has no place here.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    This is very simple. Japanese cars are generally considered boring, their diesels are poor and in every respect except reliability they are average. Given the choice between that and the much more interesting Euro brands we are used to we Europeans go European every single time. In this area of the world we struggle to understand why Lexus is a big success in the US when over here it’s a relative flop. For example compare the Jaguar XF to the Lexus equivalent. The Lexus is a reheated Toyota, that’s reliable. But look at the data. The XF is also pretty reliable these days. It not based on a Toyota and it has genuine history and prestige. Basically for a brand like Lexus to do well here it has to be more than just reliable.

    In my view this could be the start of the Japanese car makes decline. They have to learn to make inspiring cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Except for their CUV/SUVs we’re not exactly thrilled with Lexus here these days. How about the XF compared to the Audi A6?

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      What you call genuine history and prestige sounds a bit nationalistic from here.

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        No, nothing nationalistic. Jaguar has proper motorsport history (although it has been a long time since they dominated Le Mans). It also has serious prestige in the UK. It has been the official car of the British Prime Minister for a long time.

        You Americans see Jags as a slightly flaky alternative to BMW/Merc/Audi, but Brits still see Jags as being a bit special, regardless of who the ultimate parent company is.

  • avatar
    kovakp

    Brits still call them Japs.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I also think their marketing does not work in Europe. The Japanese go into a market and try to under sell the local products. I have worked with Japanese companies for many years and they try to undersell a market until the locals give up. Last one standing takes all. GM 20 years ago had the middle east market to themselves until the Japanese moved in and under sold GM. All of their cars were sold cheap and GM gave up. I used to have an importer that was close to the Saudi Arabian importer of Toyota and they paid so little for replacement parts that they were selling the parts out the back door to anyone who was interested. For a while i was importing 1-2 40 ft containers a month to the USA. My customer in the USA then sold the parts to Toyota dealers in the USA who were tired of Toyota’s USA prices. The part most in demand were A/C compressors. $150.00 each compared to $500.00 in the USA. Also a lot of sheet metal. Even today many of the Toyota leased cars are shipped to the Middle & Far east to keep down the supply of used cars in the USA. This way they can keep up the resale price. Most of the major car carriers leave the USA with mostly Toyota, Honda & Nissan cars coming off lease. The nice sheet metal is kept in the USA.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    @Lie2me. I realise that you think I don’t know that GM owns Opel, Vauxhall and Holden but I do. It is the reason that almost no American brands are available in Europe. Chevy has done badly, Cadillac is dead but local GM brands are doing OK. That was not my point. The fact that GM once rebadged a Holden Monaro as a Pontiac G8 and currently rebadges one model of Commodore as the Chevy SS is not the same as establishing the Holden brand in the U.S. It would require a large investment in dealers and the certification of the whole model range including utes, Sports wagons, cab chassis and all the Commodores. Not gonna happen. The same applies to all the other brands I mentioned with possible exception of Alfa Romeo. I am disappointed that you forced me to explain myself.
    Now, off to the beach.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Of course it’s not going to happen the Holden brand is over

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        No GM has said as of a day ago the Holden brand will be the moniker for its cars in Australia after 2017. Question is how many cars will they sell? They are plummeting in sales
        After saying the top selling Commodore will be replaced with an imported car, sales for Holden has been plummeting. Imported and branded as Holden products never sold anyway, now their sales are even worse. Looks grim for GM in Australia

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      What’s the point in spending billions to bring another brand to the states when they can just spend a few million and use an existing badge and cross out some words in the manual.
      None of those brands have any recognition in the states, even with GM backing them they would be money losers. We have the SS, other than that and the El Camino, Holden offers nothing, and both of those are about to be scrapped, Holden will effectively be a brand that only sells rebadged American cars and some crap made in Thailand.
      We have Buick for Opel and Vauxhal stuff, both brands 98% of Americans would assume sell vehicles made in China.

      Plus we have Alfa Romeo, the dealership in Cary, NC has had the sign up for maybe 6-8 months now.

      The other brands you listed would be also rans anyhow, our market for compact and subcompact is small, which rules out the euro brands, the Chinese can’t properly build the mustang tranny, no way we could deal with the stigma and unreliability. The other brands, again, offer nothing.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It’s always funny to me to Europeans say “American cars are too big for Europe” when in reality there are tons of 7-Series, S-Class, A8s, Range Rovers, etc driving around.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Neither of those cars have a huge market share, they are all pretty expensive luxury cars. As for space, I have problems parking my CR-V in most parkin spaces if I want to be able to open all the doors, and I don’t even live in the city.

    • 0 avatar
      romismak

      Well they are, for example US pickups when i saw here it looked huge, generally when i see pickups here – normal size like Nissan Navara not US size are big, you can ´t park them, not much space in streets in garages and so on, and point out to cars like BMW 7 series is joke – such cars are not your regular vehicles on the roads. Anyway Europe is in this department like Japan – but not such extreme with their Kei cars accounting for 40% of car sales lately and those Kei cars are as big if not smaller than minicars in Europe like Peugeot 101, Smart and so on. American cars are really to big and also expensive for Europe – with taxes based on emissions, horse powers or engines + how i said no space for parking doesn´t help for US sized SUV´s imports too.

      Also Americans are forgetting that gas prices here are 3x as high on average, which is huge factor, imagine in the US having 3x as high gas prices, Detroit 3 would go to hell with their SUV´s and pickups

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Europeans have allowed taxes to get that high on fuel, otherwise your fuel would be similar in cost to ours. With our top 3 selling vehicle being fullsize trucks the chances of regressive fuel taxation is unlikely from any politician wanting to keep their position.

        • 0 avatar
          romismak

          Yes fuel cost would be similar i am just saying that average American should think about gas prices and taxation of cars so it makes no sense to buy thirsty big US style SUV for example unless i am fan of US cars – so majority of people don´t even think to buy such cars and than US cars are almost 0% relevant in Europe and some Americans look like how is this possible our cars are great, but market conditions are totally different if comparing US and EU

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The opposite is true for America, VW, and fiat cannot get a decent foothold into the market because what they sell is simply uncompetitive. In VW’s case they want everyone to know that they can out do Toyota in the boring design department. Fiat only offers us a niche product aimed at being cute. In both cases sales reflect, strangely aside from VW’s one diesel option, neither maker offers class leading fuel efficiency.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            idk, 25/37 mpg from the VW 1.8T that makes 170hp and 200 lb/ft is pretty damn good.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Honestly the 2.5 and 1.8T issue is embarrassing and should be fixed, either drop the 2.5 or drop both and make a better N/A 4 that outdoes both of them in HP and MPG.
            TBH I forgot midsize cars still had so little horsepower and had to look up competitors to get an idea. Seems the torque is pretty inline but the horsepower is less than the competitors. But as far as MPG the numbers look fairly average not bad, but not leading.

            I did edit the comment I made above this one moments after posting I meant to say “leading” not “competitive”. One would figure with Euro manufacturers never ending pursuit in small cars they would have leading fuel economy numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Honestly I’ve never looked up Midsizers as I am now, I don’t understand how Camry is the #4 best selling vehicle in America, as far as being an appliance, worst fuel economy and one of the lower HP ratings, the Altima seems to be where it’s at, most standard HP alongside best standard MPG.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            2015 Camry makes 30 lb/ft less torque and gets 2 mpg less hwy. 2015 Altima 20 lb/ft less torque, 12 more HP, 1 mpg better hwy.

            I’m not seeing huge differences here. Personally I’d take the 20-30 more lb/ft and the 1 mpg hit – wouldn’t even be a close call for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Again I meant to say leading, of course they are competitive. The point I’ve been trying to make, is that even with the insistence on very small vehicles that are heavily taxed, VW seemingly still can’t own the market in fuel economy, which I find strange.
            Regardless that doesn’t change the fact they are basically irrelevant in sales in the US.

            The Altima also has 2 MPG higher city mileage.

            Actually wait a minute the 1.8t in the Passat gets 24 city 34 highway, that’s below even the Camry.

            So the numbers you put out for the 1.8T apply to the Jetta, not the Passat, which for the compact segment arent exactly class leading numbers themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Hummer,
            It isn’t that hard a “problem” to work out.

            Toyota has built a good brand name for it’s product.

            Even though I’m not a Toyota fan, Toyota does have the knack produce a very bland vehicle that does work well as a whole.

            Here’s a new analogy I’ve come up with to explain aspects of engineering to the more challenged that comment on these sites, I call it my “Band Analogy”.

            Now many of our less experienced people have a problem in assessing the attribute or qualities that define a motor vehicle.

            You appear to fit this categorisation on a number of occasions after reading your comments.

            That is how does a motor vehicle work as a whole, like a band as I mentioned.

            How well do all of the vehicles components work as a team or are synchronised.

            Do they work in harmony?

            Yourself, considering the uneducated comment of dropping a monster V8 into a Mustang has displayed you have little knowledge on how and what makes a vehicle good or better or have the ability to work harmoniously as a “team”, like a band.

            Going, back to the band scenario. You are one of the “types” who think bigger is better as I’ve just illustrated above.

            So, by having a huge amplifier doesn’t make for good music or even a good guitar.

            As much as I hate to state this, Toyota is quite good at harmonising out of date technology and producing a vehicle that functions quite well, overly expensive for what it is.

            So, Toyota are the bands you listen to that sound okay, but can only play cover songs.

            They are not the Eagles, Stones, Beatles, etc.

            But they play very good music.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            “Regardless that doesn’t change the fact they are basically irrelevant in sales in the US.”

            Agreed, but I don’t think it has anything to do with mpg numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Al, not quite, Toyota brand has such a highly regarded cache that people will buy it without looking at the competition. You must realize the above question on the Camry was rhetorical.
            Additionally I’ve never said anything about dropping a large V8 in any Mustang, though I do welcome you to point out where I did, because I’m genuinely interested in knowing what your referring to.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            HK,
            Do note I edited my last comment as I was apparently trying to compare fuel economy numbers you posted that apply to VWs compact cars, to cars in the midsize category.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Hummer,
          Fuel is the least of their worries driving in Euriope, the Laneway sized streets with all manner of obstacles, make driving a largish car difficult

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Reading the the comments throughout this article there is one significant aspect of why the penetration of Japanese vehicles wasn’t as successful as the US.

    It seems our usual suspects are attempting to break it down into paradigm and political reasons. Some of the logic is true to a degree, but overplayed with a simplistic view on the makeup of the EU vehicle market.

    Here are the reasons why the Japanese didn’t have the penetration of the EU as did the US, Canada and Australia;

    1. Geographic; The US and Australia have far easier access to the Japanese manufacturers back when the Japanese started with their global strategy.

    2. The oil crisis of the 70s; Both the EU and Japanese manufactured the first of the global vehicles which were consumed by the US, Canada, Australia, etc. These countries didn’t have a large, small vehicle industry and relatively cheap energy and large incomes.

    3. Quality; The US, Australia, etc manufactured vehicles of low quality in comparison to the EU. The Japanese got onto the quality band wagon (whilst we continued to produced sh!t) and due to the proximity of our markets to Japan we received many Japanese vehicles.

    4. The EU was in reconstruction mode after WWII, hence industry and entire countries required to be rebuilt. The only institutions capable of managing a massive mega project like the rebuilding of a large part of the EU (and Japan) was governments, hence the large influence of government in many EU nations.

    Protection was offered to the rebuilding of the vehicle manufacturers.

    5. Culture; As Robert Ryan pointed out, like a portion of the US populous the EU has the same mindset in buying EU or national vehicles. There pride/patriotism would have them invest in their own product.

    6. A very large number of manufacturers. The Japanese had to contend with a far larger number of competitors in comparison to the US, Australia, etc. This increase risk from a business perspective. Japanese and EU wages have been lower than that of the US, Canada, Australia, etc. So, the EU form this perspective made competition harder.

    Since, the Euro was formed and the collapse of the USSR’s influence on Eastern Europe many manufacturers ie, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, and on and on have set up shop to take advantage of the lower wages in these Eurozone nations.

    The Asian vehicle share in the EU has done okay cons!dering the decline of EU manufacturers. I do foresee more rationalisation of the vehicle manufacturing in the EU due to financial and economic reasons.

    How many manufacturers can the EU sustain?

    • 0 avatar
      romismak

      Some good points, Japanese share is the same since 1990 based on ACEA stats, so they outperformed the market with most EUR mainstream brands loosing share like Opel,Fiat and so on to premium brands, value brands and Koreans

      If speaking ASian brands – we must say Koreans extra, because 2 decades ago they were non-existent, so Japanese have the same share – 12-15% not sure now, while Koreans went from 0.1 to i think 6% now – not sure again, and also think great help was Hyudai/Kia plans here in Slovakia and Czech rep. producing over 100% of capacity, Kia Slovakia just produced 323thousand cars in 2014 + almost half million engines – rest of them going to Hyundai sister plants in Czech rep. so Koreans are huge succes in Europe and very proffitable even in this super tough conditions

      About survining, well toughest period is over with 6year slump and declines since 2008-2013 and everyone is still alive so i believe they will survive all -PSA, Fiat were in big danger and they survived this

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I used to see Hyundai Ponies when I lived in the Netherlands in 1984, so they were extant. They started selling in the U.K. two years earlier.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I was TDY to Gilze-Rijen RNLAB in Feb-Apr 1985 and four of our rentals were Hyundai Ponies.

          Your comment brought back those memories.

          Small world.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Highdesertcat,
            That’s around the time in Australia that Hyundai’s were imported.

            Initially they were only sold in Perth WA.

            Boy, have they made inroads since then.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – All you had to say is EU tariffs killed any notion of Japanese OEMs entering the EU in any meaningful way, in the ’70s. NO loopholes either. They were much smaller OEMs and couldn’t readily cope with insane EU tariffs. EU consumers were largely unaware of Japanese brands.

      Euro cars at the bottom of the market were the crappiest on Earth. Hell yeah there was great demand for quality cars! Euro crappy cars had a limited market in the US b/c they were at least ‘small’.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Tariffs are not much of a barrier to sell in Europe, it is having a product they want to buy. Trying to flog LHD cars in England, terrible Korean built” Chevrolets”, non diesel luxury cars is not going to cut it

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I’m not seeing many address this from the opposite angle; why were the Japanese manufacturers able to capture so much market share in NA? The timing issue is real, aiming for the inexpensive fuel efficient market right before the embargo. Then the domestics seemed almost petulant about responding to regulatory changes, making cars that just barely functioned at all with the emissions and efficiency requirements. Add in the UAW’s (intentional or not) stifling the pace of process improvement in domestic plants and the market share change becomes possible. Compared to that, the EU situation for Japenese automakers seems more normal.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      05lgt,
      The Japanese expansion in the global automotive market was due to three main factors;

      1. Cheap vehicles,

      2. The global Oil Crisis in the early 70s. This gave an impetus to the Japanese global expansion.

      In essence the Japan inadvertently created a global product (along with the EEC countries).

      3. The ease of access to the US (Australia, Canada) markets and the geographic ease to transfer Japanese vehicles to these markets.

      The biggest thorn was the imposing of the chicken tax on Japanese (and any other manufacturer of commercial vehicles). But cars were a different story.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “why were the Japanese manufacturers able to capture so much market share in NA?”

      They built a better car.

      This is worth a read: http://www.amazon.com/Machine-That-Changed-World-Revolutionizing/dp/0743299795

      Incidentally, one of the people involved in this study was John Krafcik. Converting Hyundai to lean production was key to turning Hyundai’s US business around.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I’ve driven VW’s Merc’s and BMW’s from the mid 70’s, if this was the whole story Toyota would have huge market share in Germany too. Btw, the book is on my shelf for an eventual rereading.
        The D3 had to p!ss away a lot of nationalism, loyalty and heritage to get to here. They did it firmly and quickly. A run of the mill BMW hasn’t been more spirited or engaging than a run of the mill Lexus for a couple of years or more, but almost no one thinks that way yet. It usually takes a long time for perception to catch up. What happened in the NA market in the 70’s and 80’s was strange.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I explained above why it happened. OPEC got the ball rolling, quality took care of the rest.

          Europe worked hard to keep the Japanese at bay, with tariffs and quotas and local content requirements and rules that made it difficult to build dealer networks. The US did very little to keep out the Japanese — the short-lived “voluntary” quotas during the Reagan era encouraged the Japanese to build US plants, which only made them stronger in the long run.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            It’s very hard to cary on an argument with you when you keep agreeing with me. I’m searching your earlier replies on this for something to disagree with, and I may have one. Lower milage at second sale can’t explain European acceptance of VW quality, our was a POS right out the door. Not sure this amounts to enough room for an argument, so I’m going to have to pick on the ozzies for a while.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Damn. I’ll have to try harder.

            I have to wonder what would have happened had there not been an OPEC crisis. My guess is that Japanese adoption would have been much slower; the motivation to look to imported alternatives would have been considerably lower.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            It would have changed the regulatory environment too. even if all it did was stretch the muscle car wars another few years… Now I’m mad at OPEC.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Sure. Without OPEC, there would have been no CAFE or 55 mph speed limit (or 85 mph speedometers, for that matter.)

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Nothing to do with it. European have bought Nationally branded vehicles , that is why the Opel in the UK is a Vauvhall, you see a lot of PSA products in France, Fiats and Lancia’s in Italy

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          05lgt, there were market disruptions in the 1970s that gave Japanese brands an start in the US market, but the decision by Honda to start manufacturing cars in the US in the 80s, followed by Toyota and Nissan, gave them staying power. Toyota, Nissan, and Honda basically became US car companies making the kinds of cars that sell in high volume in the US. Over time the Japanese brand cars manufactured in the US have evolved to have more in common with cars sold by the US domestic brands than anything sold back in Japan. Maybe the Japanese brands failed to make the same effort to become European in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Georgie Porgie,
            You are totally incorrect, read wrong due to a lack of comprehension of the global vehicle market in your assumption. You are giving credit to the US when the credit is warranted. You have grossly overstated the US’s position and lack of reaction for well over a couple of decades after the Japanese global expansion.

            The reason for the Japanese expansion in the 70s is due to the fact the Japanese had already developed a global strategy.

            A Toyota Crown in Australia, was the same Crown in the US or Canada. The mini trucks the same globally.

            The US manufacturers lacked any foresight and continued on having their global regional operation concentrate on regional products that wouldn’t sell outside of the regions.

            The EU and Japan had already created global products. And not because the US didn’t want them. As history showed the US wanted them badly, to the point where in the 80s the Japanese manufacturers set up factories in the US as the expense of the crappy cars built in UAW central, Detroit.

            The US manufacturers continued on with outdated engine technology. Look at the L Series Datsun engine of the late 60s. How many US manufactured engines could be compared to that?

            Wow, what worthless trash you present.

            You appear to live in a fantasy, like DiM;)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – You demand respect around here, but continue your childish name calling, etc. “BAFO” is a simple acronym commonly used, like HDC, DW, etc.

            But the problem Japanese and US OEMs have had breaking into the EU market are outrageous tariffs. Lax US tariffs made it an easy target for global OEMs, including European.

            The US Big 3 OEMs increased reliability/competitiveness exponentially from new Japanese competition. EU cars still have lots to be desired in those departments.

            EU tariffs made Euro cars weak. And Japanese cars effective booted non luxury Euro cars out of the US. Renault, Fiat, MG, Peugeot, etc, looked silly in comparison. Embarrassingly so.

            European consumers were effectively kept away from much better Japanese and US cars in the through the ’70s and ’80s, and it’s been a slow saturation ever since. Insane (no loopholes) tariffs will do that.

            As Japanese and US OEMs became stronger, they’ve been able to set up factories in Europe. But ridiculous tariffs means a slow exposure/penetration.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Japanese built better cars than the total piles that existed in the US at the time. They must have been truly awful. I have driven several earlier 2000’s versions in the US and they were appalling, so what became before must have been horrendous

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @RobertRyan,
          I do think some of the worst cars from that era came from the UK manufacturers as well.

          Even the Australian assembled UK vehicles were on par with US vehicles.

          The Japanese initially weren’t much better during the 60s. By the end of the 70s they were making vehicles as good as the Europeans.

          My mother worked at Mazda/VW/Suzuki yard and was the accountant.

          I remember when Audi came out. They looked like a VW with more headlights:)

          Even by the early 70s the Europeans and Japanese had far superior engines than what was coming out of Detroit.

          Detroit was stuck in the 50s.

          I really think Detroit didn’t know how to manage globalisation to well and the Europeans and Japanese did.

          They had to as they did have global markets by then and the US was insular.

          The only part of the US industry that is insular to a degree is it’s trucks and commercial vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Yes the English cars of the day loved leaking oil. The Japanese cars of the 1970’s were a revelation. Unfortunately US cars had not improved much on those English cars right up to the early 2000’s

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            BAFO, you have it backwards. The bodies on early 70s American cars rusted badly and plastic trim parts were fragile, but the primitive early 70s engines before air pollution control were reasonably reliable for their time. During the Malaise Era American cars got new but definitely not improved engines and smaller, less stylish bodies and they still rusted out. By the mid to late 80s American car manufacturers started to use electronic fuel injection to simultaneously meet government emissions requirements and customer demand for power. Corrosion protection and reliability also got better on American cars, but the Japanese cars sold in the US started to become larger.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Georgie G, (remember, if you don’t address me correctly, I’ll treat like DiM, Pch-101, etc.

            1. Did I mention how reliable US engines were? Comprehension my friend appears lacking on your part here.

            2. Rust???? Boy this will occur when secondary areas don’t have a protective coating. Does this have anything to do with quality???

            Obviously not in you mind.

            The US is nearly there, maybe in a few years it will have caught up with most EU and Asian vehicles.

            Oh, an Asian vehicle isn’t a foreign manufacturer in the US. A foreign vehicle is an actual import.

            Some of the foreign manufacturer in the US do manufacture good vehicles. But from the Big 2 and FCA there is some scope for improvement overall to match what many other’s have been able to achieve…..for some time now.

            Even Thai manufacture vehicles are on par or better than what is churning out of the US homegrown manufacturers.

            Just look at the Escalade Silverado’s quality. It might be blinged to the hilt. But fit and finish and attention to detail is lacking, even without considering it’s $25k pickup heritage.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          You have a thing for “outrageous tariffs” even when they do not exist. The UAW ibeing threatened by production going back to Europe as well as Mexico?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I wish we had a chart on every individual vehicle sale in the UK, that would be very interesting to see how spread out the sales are especially to the low volume vehicles.

  • avatar
    jkk6

    Thanks for letting me know Hyundai is currently doing better than Toyota and Honda combined for the whole year, in a market that is the size equivalent to that of California;p.
    Also noting that they’re selling volume comparable to other prestigious makers.

    Now only if they can think of more ways to grow on on their existing market…z

  • avatar
    JD321

    What do you expect from primitive island monkeys still rockin “Royal Family” parasites in 2015?

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    So the British aren’t averse to German cars. It reminds me of a joke that made the rounds in London a couple of years ago: “The average Briton drives a German car to an Irish pub to drink Belgian beer, and on the way home stops at a Thai restaurant for take away, and eats it at home sitting on Danish furniture while watching American programs on a Japanese telly, and tells everyone he’s suspicious of foreigners.”

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Well, the English (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) are Germanic, as well as the Danish raiders who settled there, not to mention the Norman conquerors.

      But then you have the “real” Brits – the Scots/Pics, Welsh, etc.

  • avatar
    Occam

    What stands out to me is that, despite GM and Ford’s ownership of Opel/Vauxhall and Ford of Europe, both are thought of as fully European. Ab Opel isn’t considered an American car any more than a Dodge Ram is an Italian truck.

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