Jeep First American Brand to Make Japan Car of The Year Top 10
Traditionally Insular Competition Opening to Foreign Makes
Toyota is one of the top-selling automotive brands in the U.S., yet foreign brands in Japan have historically had a miniscule market share, thanks to a combination of byzantine protectionist trade regulations, and a fiercely nationalistic preference among most Japanese car buyers. Jeep made history for 2014 by being the only American model to be in the Top 10 of Japan’s Car of the Year finalists in the competition’s history. Japan’s Car of the Year contest dates back to 1980-1981. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee made the cut, along with a handful of other non-Japanese models, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW i3, and Peugeot 308, Automotive News reports.
Although the Cherokee wasn’t the ultimate winner, with that award going to the all-new redesigned Mazda 2 subcompact, the appearance of an American nameplate on the traditionally Japanese-dominated list is significant. Last year, the Volkswagen Golf was the first foreign-brand car in the history of the competition to win the Car of the Year award. The Jeep brand alone out-sold Ford, Chrysler, and Chevrolet in Japan last year, with an overall total of 3,188 units. The next best-selling American nameplate in Japan was Ford with 2,259 units. The Jeep brand is Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s fastest-growing global brands, with new models such as the Cherokee and compact Renegade broadening its appeal in international markets.
Source: Automotive News