The Americanization of the Japanese Car

If Japanese used cars continue to endure as favorites among old new car buyers, it is on account of their deserved reputation for manufacturing excellence and the benefits that owners reap through a Japanese car’s entire life cycle. These are cars whose motors are known to keep on ticking well into their later years. That’s why, when families pass on their used Japanese cars –with more than a few good runs — to the next generation of drivers they do so with an unperturbed conscience. Added to that psychic restfulness is more than just a little bit of homespun pride: a family heirloom is what’s being handed down, after all.

Given such a cultural backdrop, it should come as no surprise that a Japanese used car sale is an event that more than one proud American will have a choking fit of enthusiasm over. Whoever said no one ever lusted over a Japanese car had it all wrong. Although the vehicles are most typically — and inaccurately — portrayed as lacking in outright luxury and opulence, the big three Japanese automakers, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda, are more than just providers of a modest brand of cars. Besides having luxury divisions of their own (Acura, in the case of Honda), even a straightforwardly unassuming car like the Civic offers the opulence of efficiency, reliability, and durability. These last attributes supply a different sort of richness and grandeur, but it remains a luxury just the same.

Having been introduced to the United States only a few years past the middle of the last century, brand-recognition progress has been in the works for decades. The culminating fruit of those past decades is that, today, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are just about as well known in America as Chevrolet (General Motors), Chrysler, and Ford. Americans are enthusiastic about their cars, and many would argue that Japanese ones are already patently set in the constellation of cars that Americans consider their own.

Getting affordable luxury can be as anxiety-free as buying a good, Japanese used car. Cheap in terms of currency paid, but with a high value in terms of the sound investment made.

Sam Walters is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her writing appears in print and online.

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