Howard Wilner on Why the U.S. Car Market is Dominated by Japanese Cars

Howard Wilner
3 min readAug 12, 2019


Howard Wilner Framington on Why the US Car Market is Dominated by Japanese Cars

It is no secret that the United States’ car market has been consistently dominated by Japanese cars over the course of several decades. Howard Wilner, President of Automax Preowned, describes just why the U.S. market is teeming with Japanese-made vehicles.

Made in the USA

Many of the cars made in America are manufactured by Japanese companies such as Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., two of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world. A recent study of vehicles made in the United States by revealed that nine of the 15 most commonly produced in the U.S. are in fact manufactured by Honda and Toyota. For both companies however, most of their production occurs within the United States. Approximately two-thirds of Honda’s vehicles are assembled in the United States. Toyota also sells mostly U.S.-made vehicles in the United States.

Customers Prefer Japanese Cars

Over time, we’ve seen the rise of Honda and Toyota over traditional U.S. automobiles such as Fords, as well as German vehicles such as Volkswagens. Japanese cars consistently top Consumer Reports and J.D. Power ratings, which is a true testament to their quality and ease of use.

Japanese car manufacturers began to rise to pre-eminence largely as a result of their consistency, detail-oriented engineering and for their abilities to produce reliable cars, states Howard Wilner. Additionally, Japanese car manufacturers studied design flaws in vehicles produced in other countries, and consistently improved upon these systems. They also lowered production costs by limiting the range of choices available to consumers.

Japanese Cars are the Industry Gold Standard

Japanese vehicles such as Hondas and Toyotas are notoriously reliable and long-lasting, making them a preferred choice for many consumers. They are also lighter, more fuel efficient and have lower maintenance costs and depreciation values.

Japanese automobile manufacturers have truly become the gold standard. Seven out of the top 10 reliable carmakers were from Japan, according to a 2015 Auto Express Driver Power Survey. Toyota developed a renown set of manufacturing rules known as the Toyota Production System, or lean manufacturing, which focused on increasing efficiency and reducing waste. Japanese cars are generally more user-friendly for both users and mechanics, which makes them easier to repair as required, says Howard Wilner.

Company Stability

Aside from their overall reliability, some experts indicate there are several other reasons why Japanese auto manufacturers have dominated the market over time For example, management practices have made a significant difference — with management of Honda and Toyota remaining quite stable over time, developing up through the ranks from engineering positions, whereas U.S. manufacturers experience more volatility in management, which affects the abilities of engineers to focus on quality improvement and research and development.

Certainly, it comes as no surprise that Japanese vehicle manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota are much more reliable and durable over time. However, U.S. auto manufacturers (and other manufacturers from around the world) are increasingly focused on modern technologies and aesthetic improvements, which are increasingly being demanded by today’s consumers, states Howard Wilner. Depending on your preference, you may be more likely to consider a vehicle made by an American automaker in the future.

Read another great article from Howard Wilner — The Trends Shaping the Automotive Industry



Howard Wilner

President of Automax Preowned in Framingham, Massachusetts.