Everything You Want To Know About JDM Cars

Table of Contents

JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market; JDM Cars are tailored only for the Japanese Market. These cars have different features than other Japanese cars exported to other countries. JDM cars can only be imported. Before diving in-depth into JDM cars, let’s reflect on the history of Japan’s Automotive Industry to understand well about JDM Cars.

History of Japan’s Automotive Industry

It all began in 1907 when Komanosuke Uchiyama made his dream a reality by making the first Japanese-manufactured gasoline engine, Takuri. 

Japan’s First Car Takuri (1907)

After several years of prolonged efforts, the Japanese Automotive industry was still unable to produce state-of-the-art vehicles; however, Two automotive companies, Kwaishinsha Motor Car Co., Ltd. and Hakuyosha, were trying their best to manufacture automobiles. Unfortunately, due to a lack of Japanese industrial technology experience and the US automotive industry dominating the Market, both companies’ downfall and closed assembly production. After World War II, the Japanese car industry got another major setback due to the devastation of the nation’s infrastructure and low demand. The President of Toyota resigned, and the company almost went bankrupt in 1949. 

The Japanese government encouraged automotive companies to make more Japanese-made cars, which was required to stabilize Japan’s economic condition. 

Early Stages: 1950s-1960s

  • After World War II, the Japanese Automotive industry started growing.
  • Automotive companies Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan (previously known as Datsun) understood consumer needs and started manufacturing economical cars with fewer maintenance requirements to meet domestic market demands. 
  • These companies aimed to manufacture affordable, fuel-efficient, simple cars.

Dawn of Sportiness and Performance: 1970s

  • Honda gave the gift of Civic and Accord to car enthusiasts; these cars became famous due to reliability, super build quality, sporty touch, and fuel efficiency.

First Honda Civic First Honda Civic RS

  • Datsun introduced the Datsun 240Z, and Toyota launched the Toyota Celica.

Datsun 240Z  

Toyota Celica

Turbocharging and Technical Advancements: 1980s

  • The 1980s marked the best decade concerning technical improvements in the Japanese automotive industry.
  • The engineers focused on Turbocharging and advanced engine technologies to produce the best cars to present Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline GT-R, and Mazda RX-7.

MAZDA RX7

Toyota Supra  

Nissan Skyline GT-R

  • Consumer demand increased, and the Japanese car market grew from sporty coupes to luxury sedans. 

The Golden Era of JDM: 1990s

  • With the introduction of some of the most iconic and legendary models, the 1990s is often regarded as the Golden Era of JDM Cars.
  • Japan’s ability to produce a world-class mid-engine supercar, Acura NSX.

ACURA NSX

  • Nissan Skyline GT-R generations received appreciation globally from motorsports for its performance capabilities.
  • The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series became recognized with rally-inspired performance and all-wheel drive technology.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

  • Toyota Supra MK4 was identified as a high-performance sports car with a powerful 2JZ-GTE engine.

Toyota Supra MK4

Transition and Evolution 1997-2010s

  • The more efficient, eco-friendly, and advanced technology like Hybrid and electric powertrains introduced
  • Toyota Prius, Mazda MX-5 (Miata), and Honda Fit were produced.

Mazda Mx-5 

Honda Fit

  • JDM’s new models with new designs and engineering were showcased.

Present and Future: Innovation and Sustainability

  • Considering global warming and environmental concerns, the Japanese Automotive Industry is more focused on manufacturing Hybrid and electric vehicles.
  • JDM demand for old models and modern vehicles is alive by car enthusiasts globally.

JDM Car Pros

  • Reliability: Japanese vehicles are known for their superior quality, longevity, and low maintenance cost.
  • It enhanced Resale Worth: The JDM cars are only made for Japanese markets, making them scarce in other countries, enabling car enthusiasts to import and even pay more for the car’s actual price. The import cost is compensated due to the excellent resale value of these premium cars.
  • It Optimized Fuel Economy: The Japanese Automotive industry has very high standards for fuel efficiency, and all vehicles must comply; that’s what makes Japanese cars stand out from the Market as they are focused on creating a product that is beneficial for their customers in every aspect. JDMs are always on top of choosing a car for fuel efficiency compared to competitors.
  • Superior Car Components: The availability of OEM spare parts is the peace a car enthusiast can feel, and all consumers of Japanese cars are satisfied with the quality.

JDM Car Cons

  • Language Challenge: You may need help to connect your Bluetooth to a JDM car if you need to learn Japanese; all documents and service manuals are in Japanese.
  • Safety and Regulations: Some countries might not allow JDM cars due to specific standards and regulations.
  • Warranty: The used JDM car might not come with a contract, and finding warranty coverage for imported vehicles is tiring.
  • Cultural Difference: The JDM cars might have designs and features tailored to Japanese standards, which might not align with your preference. 

JDM CAR Facts

  • Americans can only import JDM cars if it is 25 years old car.
  • Tsurikawa is a sign of rebellion in Japan. The Boston super clan would steal it from buses and trains and hang it in the rear of their cars.

Tsurikawa Tsurikawa

  • This Green and Yellow sticker in Japan means Wacaba Mark, and it translates as You are a beginner driver, and you need good driving skills; it has nothing to do with JDM or JDM Culture. 

Top 6 JDM CARs

Nissan GTR R35:

Nissan GTR was called Godzilla because of its high-performance ability, giving tough time to cars like Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini. Comparing the prices and performance of these cars, initially in the 90s, An Australian Magazine on the motorsport scene wrote about Godzilla, the king of monsters.

Nissan GTR R35 was first produced in 2007 with the following specs

  • Configuration: 3,799 cc (3.8 L) DOHC twin-turbocharged V6 
  • Power at RPM: 480–485 PS (473–478 hp; 353–357 kW) at 6,400 pm
  • Torque at RPM: 637 Nm @ 3300-5800 rpm

Nissan GTR R35 

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34:

The Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, often referred to as the R34, is the fifth generation of the GT-R series and a true icon in Japanese sports cars. Launched in 1999, the R34 was a testament to Nissan’s engineering prowess and commitment to performance.

Under the hood, the R34 is powered by the legendary RB26DETT engine, a 2.6-liter twin-turbo inline-six powerhouse. This engine churns out 280 horsepower, although many believe this number was understated due to Japan’s “gentlemen’s agreement” to limit horsepower. With its ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system and the Super-HICAS four-wheel steering, the R34 offers an exhilarating and precise driving experience.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

Velside FD Mazda Rx7:

The famous JDM car from the movie Tokyo Drift got so much popularity. Other characters in the film also rent cars, but the Mazda Rx7 got every car lover’s attention. 

  • Model: TYPE R, TYPE RZ, TYPE RB
  • Power Output: 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) 
  • Torque: 294 N⋅m (217 lbf⋅ft)

Velside FD Mazda Rx7 Velside FD Mazda Rx7

Toyota SUPRA:

The Toyota Supra is one of the most iconic JDM cars. The name SUPRA means Go Beyond. First Supra i.e Toyoyta Celica Supra (MA47) was made in 1978.

Configuration 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) 2.0 L 12-valve SOHC inline-six engine (M-EU, chassis code MA45) 

or

The 82 kW (110 horsepower; 111 PS), 2.6-litre 12-valve SOHC inline-six engine (4M-E, chassis code MA46).

Toyoyta Celica Supra (MA47)

Toyota is now making the Toyota Supra Fifth Generation (J29/DB; 2019) in collaboration with BMW. 

Fifth Generation Supra Front View

Lexus LS400:

Lexus LS400 is the most classic and affordable V8 JDM car you can have. The size of the vehicle is significant, but the V8 engine can rev up the adrenaline rush in the body as the pedal hits the acceleration.

  • Engine: 3,968 cc (242 cu in) 1UZ-FE V8
  • Power output: 186 kW (250 hp)
  • Transmission: 4-speed A341E automatic

Lexus LS400 

EK 9 Civic Type R: 

This is the first Civic and sixth – generation to get the “Type R” nameplate. This JDM model does have a 3-door called SiR.

  • Engine: 1.6 L (1,595 cc) B16B I4
  • Power output: 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp) and 160 N⋅m (118 lb-ft)
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual

Pre-facelift EK 9 Civic Type R 

Opinion from Journalists

“For all its global prestige, the concourse leadership recognizes the need to stay fresh, to attract younger enthusiasts,” he said. “Japanese cars are showing they have a solid appeal to that demographic. (Mr Loh, editor-in-chief of MotorTrend).

Conclusion:

The JDM Cars have Pros and Cons, but it’s not solely based on the technical specifications; it’s about the emotions JDM cars evoke, the memories you create, and the stories you tell your friends. The vroom sounds, the drifts on the road, and all the thrill you can achieve with high-performance cars at competitive prices. Suppose you are a dedicated car enthusiast, a casual admirer, or e world of automobiles. In that case, JDM cars offer a unique culture, harmony, and passion only a true car lover can feel. We must appreciate and learn from Japan’s achievements. This nation did a great job manufacturing high-quality cars after a significant setback from World War II and a force majeure earthquake. A famous saying perfectly fits here, “When there is a will, there is a way.” JDM cars are the heart of car enthusiasts. While it can be expensive to procure a JDM car, car enthusiasts are always willing to pay the upper price if the quality is superior along with performance. This article teaches us if we put Strong Will and Sheer determination into achieving greatness, we can achieve excellence and create raving fans. 

Written by: Motorcardata

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