Monday, 14 March 2011

Flying the company colours

Japan is a country that is justifiably proud of its achievements in the car manufacturing industry. It is fair to say that the land of the rising sun remains one of the world leaders in providing quality and innovative automotive design. The brands have become highly successful and recognisable household names…Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Daihatsu etc. What you may not know is that each company is strongly linked to a major Japanese city. Much like the local football team, the community strongly support their particular team or should I say company. They in turn continue to financially support the regional economy while providing significant employment for the local population. Tokyo has Honda and Mitsubishi, Nagoya has Toyota, Osaka has Daihatsu and Yokahama has Nissan. When in Hiroshima it’s Mazda that is the car of choice and they dominate the roads and carparks. Likewise, you can’t miss the company headquarters that commands a significant part of the city infrastructure. If you are there, be sure to join one of their free tours that take you to the museum and manufacturing plant. The pride in their product is immediately obvious, as they enthusiastically guide you through the company history and development from its three-wheeled origins to the sleek concept cars of today. You can observe the modern day production line as the latest models are churned out through a highly sophisticated manufacturing combination of robotics and manpower. You can also view the shiny end product as it moves off the production line and rolls smoothly onto the company ships, which are conveniently docked alongside the factory… a very streamlined operation indeed! Of course there are also plenty of opportunities to jump into the latest models and you might even be tempted to place an order. However, much like the rivalry between Holden and Ford in Australia, there is more to choosing a car than just basing your decision on performance and style. In Japan, flying the company colours is economically important and loyalty to a brand continues to be powerful attractor that can sometimes be generational decision.

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