View Full Version : Built in Japan?

06-09-11, 02:07 PM
If you were buying a Japanese make would you rather buy a model that was actually built in Japan as opposed to one built in the U.S.? Why do you feel this way?

After it was announced that Mazda was going to cease car production in the U.S. a couple of members said that was OK because they would rather have a Mazda produced in Japan than one built here in the United States.

Does this preference also hold true when buying German cars?

Night Wolf
06-09-11, 05:15 PM
My Isuzu was built in Japan and that, IMO was a good thing.

As for built in USA - I really don't know. I'd say quality has more to do with QC than the control it is in, but at the same time - American's as a whole are pretty lazy.

German car? Germany please. Without a question.

I'd take a USA built vehicle regardless of brand over an equal built in Mexico - no thank you. Sadly the lines are blurred and now you have German companies building cars in Mexico.

Having worked on many vehicles from the 80s-90s... it's quite easy to see the difference under the skin of those from GM's bad time (well couple decades...) compared to the Japaneese and especially German cars - the build quality is night and day. Cadillac didn't fare the worst, but most of GM's bread and butter cars were pretty badly built as a whole. Same goes for Ford, but maybe to a lesser extent. Crawling under my '96 Town Car and every weld looked like it was training day with a flux core welder, just pathetic. In comparison, all the welds on my '90 325iC (had both cars at the same time) looked excellent. That was just one example, interior plastics are another, but similar.

06-09-11, 08:35 PM
I feel the Japanese take to a higher standard of quality and work ethic. My mother had a 94 Honda Accord that was made in Japan, and it was the best car she ever owned. Nothing ever failed on that car. All the electrical components worked perfectly, no broken window rollers, or failed window motors. No cheap bits in the interior to break off or that was misaligned. No major engine or transmission failures, NOTHING!

She now owns a 98 Accord Coupe that was made in the US. You can totally tell that it was made here. The interior is a little cheaper in quality, it has a GM feel to the car. When the doors close, it has a hollow sound, and when it shuts, you don't here a nice "Thump" sound, you here more of a "Clank" sound.
The 94 Accord had a nice "Thump" sound when you shut the door, probably due to better window seals and door latches. The fit and finish is ok, but the window switches is Toy Plastic compared to the smoother firmer feeling 94 window switches. Also the window motors are louder and whinier in the 98's. The paint is peeling really bad on the trunk and roof of the car. I think Honda around this time started cutting cost, and it showed especially in it's paint quality. I am not sure how the quality was for it's Sedans made in Japan, but every 98 Honda Coupe was made in the US.

Her 94 Accord's paint was perfect after 15 years, it still had it's luster, and never showed a sign of clearcoat fade, it was amazing. but I know 3 other guys that owned older Hondas, out of the 3, 2 of them were made in Japan a 93 and a 97, and never had any problems with there cars, the other one on the other hand which was a 95, had QC issues, paint fading, suspension problems, interior rattles, and more electrical failures.

So yes if I ever were going to buy a new Japanese car, I definitely would tell the salesman to give me the one made in Japan. For instance look at the new Camrys made in the US, how people complain of misaligned interior trimming? A lot! Even the level of it's material quality have cheapened up over the years, and is more plasticky compared to there 90's counterparts which had more soft vinyl trimming.

Mazda is doing a good thing IMO moving plants to Japan, they are great cars. Don't wanna mess them up by building them here no offense.

06-10-11, 01:31 AM
^ A lot of that is engineering decisions and cost cutting, it would happen regardless of where the car is built. I know the 5th gen Accord, the 1994, was probably the most solidly built Honda ever made IMO. You can tell they cheaped out a little on the 6th gen, but its still a good car IMO. The 7th is about the same as the 6th gen IMO, but the latest model, the 8th gen is a piece of ugly crap IMO, build quality on the interior dropped WAY WAY WAY off.

That being said, I would prefer a car built in Japan. I know Toyota still makes all its Lexus products and Prius cars there, so that tells you something right there IMO.

06-10-11, 06:50 AM
Yes, without a doubt I prefer a Japanese made Japanese car. Hell, that goes for anything Japanese. Have you seen Sony products made everywhere BUT Japan? Utter and absolute garbage... a trend of poor quality that began with them in the late 1990s. There was a recent Sony series (Z) that had production split between the U.S. and Japan, and having had models from both assembly points, I could definitely tell a difference even when you assume that the components inside are likely globally sourced.

German cars by far display the differences the most though, it's a night and day difference between the U.S. built ones and the ones actually made in Germany. However, that is slowly improving. In fact, WORLDWIDE production of at least 1 or 2 BMW models has been assigned to the Spartanburg facility that has been building the Z and X Series vehicles for a decade now. That means that even if you buy one IN GERMANY, you are getting the U.S. made vehicle, PERIOD. That's quite a vote of confidence from BMW corporate, obviously more than I'd throw out there.

ted tcb
06-10-11, 09:12 AM
Japan all the way.

I've always thought that if I'm buying Japanese, I might as well go all the way.
My 2010 Mazda 3, built in Japan, was very well constructed. Cheap materials,
but assembled very well.
My 2009 Mazda 6 GT was built in Michigan ... rattled all over the place.
My 2004 Mazda 6 also has plastic interior trim pieces that squeak and rattle.
My 1998 Maxima GLE is tight as a drum, built in Japan. That car will probably
last another 10 years.

Re Aron's comment on the 5th generation Accord, it likely is well built.
I owned two 6th generation Accord's (99 and 02), and they were both
examples of cost cutting. Lots of trim pieces aged quickly, interior was cheap.
In my opinion, the best Accord ever built was generation 4, built from 1990-93.
That generation could've proudly wore an Acura logo on the front grille.
Many examples are still on the road with 500k ... bodies rusted, but the
mechanicals were simple and well executed.

My co worker purchased a new Solara in 2004, built in the states.
Basically a two door Camry.
Within 6 months, the dash developed a rattle.
He traded it on a used 02 Lexus ES300 (4 dr Camry, built in Japan).
In the past 7 years, he has had zero issues, no sensors, nothing, and still
doesn't have any rattles. Pretty good feat based on our frost heaved roads up
here. His only issue is the crap water based Lexus paint that chips easily, and
rims that corrode quickly.

I just sold my 09 Mazda6 and picked up a Lexus ES350.
Wanted something plush and quiet, built well.
Definitely built to a higher standard than a US assembled Camry, despite
sharing the same platform.
When I want sporty, I jump in my 20 year old, Japanese built Miata.
It will likely outlive me at this point.

I agree with all who have commented on Japanese assembled imports being
superior to US assembled imports.

Lord Cadillac
06-10-11, 11:25 AM
When my wife worked as a service writer at the local Volkswagen dealership, she saw a HUGE difference in repair frequency with the models built in Mexico as opposed to those build in Germany. The more pride the people have in their work, the better the product is going to be.