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Why don't Japanese sports cars have more street cred compared to European brands?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by ren0312, May 25, 2020.

  1. ren0312

    ren0312 Karting

    Aug 5, 2006
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    Despite being in the game for decades? You can argue that Japanese brands like Acura and Nissan have slightly more street cred in the US because of ricer culture, but outside it they are basically zero, compared to the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, or even brands like Maserati or Pagani. Mechanically arguably, the Acura NSX and the Skyline GT-R, are the equal of European sports cars. But then you can argue as to why Japanese mechanical watches are not as famous as European mechanical watches despite being as accurate, or nearly as accurate.
     
  2. energy88

    energy88 F1 World Champ
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    Maybe because they were 40 years late to the game? Yes, they had cars 20 years into the game, but these were middle of the road and mediocre compared to competitors ranking as best in class.
     
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  3. pilotoCS

    pilotoCS Formula 3
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    I think this is it. ^^^^

    The Acura NSX, both original and current, are wonderful. The Honda S2000 is wonderful

    Going back in time, the Datsun 2000 was credible and arguably better than the British sports cars of the day. The Datsun 240Z was a game changer at the time. The Mazda Miata is/was a fun and well built car. It's inspiration was the original Lotus Elan of the '60's. Anyway, the Japanese cars have a loving following, especially in California.
     
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  4. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    I think they do with young people.
     
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  5. Jaguar36

    Jaguar36 Formula Junior

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    None of the Japanese brands (with the possible exception of Mazda) has ever been consistently committed to building good sports cars. They'll dip their toes in it from time to time but then spend a decade or two away from it. Honda has had the great S2000 and the NSX, but they let the S2000 die and took 11 years to bring the NSX back. Toyota had the Supra for awhile, but then let it die around the turn of the century, and then had the LFA for a few years, and then kinda brought the Supra back. Nissan had the 240z and the 300zx but then took a decade off until they brought the GT-R out. That was an impressive car when new, but its now 13 years old. Mitsubishi had the 3000GT, but they never built a successor.

    All of these brands give the feel that they are only doing it to check a box, not because that's their primary mission. Mazda is the sole exception, however they've never had a halo car, and the Miata, despite being an excellent car has always had a bit of a hair-dresser stigma.
     
  6. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    they don't make enough great sports cars. s2000, supra, nsx, gtr, rx7 were all nice but too few of them. plus they are entry level supercars at most competing with bottom of Porsche, Ferrari, lambo lineups. jap sports cars more comparable to vette than anything from europe
     
  7. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    and they let their sports cars wither on the vine re. 370z and gtr haven't been substantially updated in over decade. that is a bad look if want to be considered with Porsche, etc
     
  8. ferrariwithsnowtires

    Dec 17, 2005
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    I thought the GT-R has received multiple meaningful improvements over the years

    I do feel the R35 version has been too long on the market
     
  9. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    yes there were r32 etc versions as well but i was talking about the very long in tooth r35
     
  10. JCR

    JCR F1 Veteran
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    What?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_2000GT
     
  11. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    Yes gt was beautiful design but just 6 cyl and made very few of them. Not sure if imported here either. They were selling near million dollars few yrs back but not sure where that market is now
     
  12. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    Lfa probably closest thing to Japanese supercar but even that was second to 599gto at the time
     
  13. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    Nissan/Toyota/Honda are not luxury brands let alone performance brands, which is why anything they make to compete with Lambo/Ferrari would fail. Even with their luxury brand divisions (Infiniti/Lexus/Acura) they would fail as those are not priced in remotely close territory to compete. They would need to make a standalone brand like VAG did with Bugatti rather than try to market it under an Audi badge or even worse VW badge.

    I wish Nissan would have made more than one street R390. I don't care about badges and would happily take that over most cars.
     
  14. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    I've only been to a couple of cars and coffee type events, and each time I chatted with a couple of young guys with Japanese sports cars. Integra, GT-R, Z', G-37. All seemed knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Enjoy talking to them...T
     
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  15. pilotoCS

    pilotoCS Formula 3
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  16. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    mgb knockoff. Imitation is another reason asian cars not taken seriously. Miata is prime example
     
  17. JL350

    JL350 Karting

    Jan 20, 2013
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    Maybe it is a more fundamental culture or identity. The Japanese developed the sports cars in addition to their normal product, the exotic manufacturer only made a sports car. A Ferrari or Porsche business needs to stay true to its core product, a sports car, but Honda for example has a different core product. Also the target customer demographic drives the product. It’s good to have variety.
     
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  18. energy88

    energy88 F1 World Champ
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    IMHO, this was one of the best looking ZX's of all time. Like other Japanese cars, 4-bolt wheels was a deal killer and seemed to convey playing in the minor leagues.

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  19. David_S

    David_S F1 Veteran
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    Might not be exactly a "halo car," but I think the final generation of the RX7 was one HELL of a step towards such a thing.
     
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  20. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    #20 Tcar, May 27, 2020
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    ...and the MGB was a copy of the Renault Caravelle roadster, (Floride). Readily acknowledged by BMC. :)
     
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  21. pilotoCS

    pilotoCS Formula 3
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    Small convertible sports cars, by nature, will all resemble each other to a certain degree. No big deal in my book. It's how they drive and the price (especially back in the day) that made the difference.
     
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  22. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    never heard of it. good one
     
  23. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
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    just looked it up. the renaults were rear engine air cooled and were considered vw bug competitors look pretty similar though
     
  24. merstheman

    merstheman F1 Rookie

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    Mostly I think it's because they don't care about foreign markets as much s they care about their own. Or didn't, for a long time. The RHD issue is also something to be said - these cars were made in small volumes, and since they look domestic market first, foreign second, they built lots of RHD cars. At some point making them LHD and trying to sell to foreigners might have been too much $$. If you look at what they have for sale in the JDM, particularly in the 80's and 90's, you'd see a lot of different models of their cars, many of them "sporty".

    There may also be something to tax laws or engine displacement limiting laws in Japan which discourages them from making bigger, more powerful engines, but I wouldn't know.

    Just a few things to think about.
     
  25. merstheman

    merstheman F1 Rookie

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    The Mazda Cosmo was a halo car back in the 60's
     
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