Tag: JDM

By on September 24, 2021

The WiLL branding project in early 2000s Japan was intended to excite and interest younger consumers with stylish products, all of which were marketed as WiLL. At the pinnacle of unique WiLL offerings were three different small Toyotas: The first two were the unpopular and unsuccessful retro-French themed Vi, and the modern-looking, popular, and unsuccessful VS.

Around the middle of VS production, Toyota just knew there had to be a part of the market they hadn’t reached yet and reintroduced the idea of the Vi with a polar opposite stylistic direction. This is the Cypha. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2021

Several Japanese companies embarked on the WiLL sub-brand exercise at the dawn of the new millennium. Miscellaneous WiLL-branded products were introduced alongside a funky new car offering from Toyota, the WiLL Vi.

The baguette-themed retro sedan was an immediate failure amongst the youthful consumers WiLL was supposed to attract, so Toyota had a very quick rethink. Meet VS.

(Read More…)

By on September 23, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride was the only other car accompanying Lexus’ LS 400 at dealerships in 1990 and 1991. The fanciest Camry offered in the US, it was a badge conversion from a Camry sold in the Japanese market.

But consumers saw through the charade, so while the high-effort LS 400 flew off the showroom floor, the minimal effort ES just sat there.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2021

The WiLL project was a short-lived collaborative marketing effort by several Japanese brands, intended to capture the interest and money of youthful buyers. Using emotional engineering, seven companies launched new products in the early 2000s wearing WiLL sub-branding. Included in the myriad of offerings were three different subcompact Toyotas.

And here’s the first one, the WiLL Vi.

(Read More…)

By on September 20, 2021

Today’s Abandoned History story is one of targeted marketing. In the early 2000s, an amalgam of Japanese corporations combined efforts to reach out to younger consumers via unified branding. Cars, food, appliances – all across Japan new, youth-focused products all wore the same sub-brand: WiLL.

Collectively WiLL asked, “How do you do, fellow kids?”

(Read More…)

By on September 10, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride represents Nissan’s first attempt at a family van for the North American market. But Nissan would prefer you forget the Van entirely, given how things went after its introduction.

(Read More…)

By on April 27, 2021

Today’s obscure Rare Ride is from perhaps the most courageous car company in existence today: Mitsuoka. This two-seater combines the zesty performance of a modern Japanese roadster with Sixties American Corvette styling.

Hazard a guess what it is underneath?

(Read More…)

By on March 30, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is the last entrant in a set of four cars introduced to the series back in November 2018. Tiny, retro, and a convertible, Nissan’s Figaro is by far the most popular of the four Pike cars. It’s also the one you can always find for sale in the United States.

Let’s take a look.

(Read More…)

By on February 12, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is a very interesting version of a ho-hum economy hatchback. By the time Toyota finished with their edits, said hatchback was turned into a pickup truck in similar in concept to the Chevy Avalanche.

Feeling intrigued?

(Read More…)

By on January 15, 2021

Hino is a well-known producer of commercial vehicles today and has been in the commercial truck market since World War II. But for a short while in the Sixties, they built their own rear-engine passenger car.

Say hello to Contessa.

(Read More…)

By on December 17, 2020

In Part I of this two-parter we were introduced to the J30, Infiniti’s luxurious new sports sedan for the Nineties. Having learned from their Q45 mistakes, the brand was determined their new mid-sizer would be appealable to the American Market.

So what went wrong? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on December 16, 2020

The other day while we were reviewing the daringly spectacular first generation Q45, commenter SSJeep requested coverage of Infiniti’s other rear-drive sedan from the period, the J30. I thought Rare Rides already covered Infiniti’s mid-size offering, but it turned out I was remembering an installment of Buy/Drive/Burn.

That means it’s time for J30.

(Read More…)

By on December 9, 2020

Rare Rides has touched on the first generation Pajero (Montero to North Americans) once before via the Raider, a captive import Dodge dealers could shift while the company had zero small SUV action of its own. Today’s Pajero is a second-generation version – the three-door never sold on our shores. Surprisingly, it even maintains the same color scheme as the Raider.

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2020

In Part I of this two-parter, we discussed the birth of the Infiniti brand, and Nissan’s decision to reinvent the large luxury car with the Q45. Today we talk technology, advertising, and aftermath.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2020

We’ve covered the second album of Infiniti’s ill-fated Q45 flagship previously, in a stunningly clean example from 1998. However, the first generation is much harder to find; they just didn’t have the longevity or caring ownership profile of the Lexus LS 400. But someone in Japan maintained this one, and it’s been imported to the US just for you.

It’s time for blue-green, grille-free luxury.

(Read More…)

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