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 Post subject: Top 50 Japanese cars
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:45 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:17 pm
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Location: amsterdam
Interest for Japanese cars is growing. On MSN cars I found a top 50 list of Japanese Cars.

Great selection. But three of my babys are missing :( The Suzuki SC100GX, Fronte and Cara. Lucky my Cappuccino is listed!

http://cars.uk.msn.com/features/photos.aspx?cp-documentid=152010751&page=1 :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:56 am 
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wow! that's a lot of hondas!! great list, if you ask me..


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:56 pm 
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:shock: Awesome list.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:44 am 

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No RX3 :td:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:43 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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The list might be nice, but the comments about the cars in the list are based more on rumor than fact.

Looking at the other lists, they rarely compliment anything that is not built in their own domestic market. Choices seem based more on puffing up the reputation of their own country of origin and less about the cars themselves.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:55 am 
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love the list, not too keen about the more modern cars making the top of the list just because they are new, but very glad to see them nod to some of the truly lynchpin cars of days gone by.

BTW I always wanted a Copen. I had heard rumors a while back it was coming to the states as a Scion since the Toyota ownership in Daihatsu but to this day I still want a Copen. Freakin cool little cars!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:04 am 

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no ae86?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:51 am 
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^ Good point. If you’re talking about the Top 50 and you include the Corolla because of its selling prowess you've got to include the Camry. Additionally where is the Celica XX? The Piazza and SVX are sexy and interesting respectively but both were complete financial failures, might as well include this bad boy:

Image

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:07 am 

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nice! I love it! :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:17 am 
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Doesn't list any Mitsus until the 1990s.

That's just cruel.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:22 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Ando wrote:
The Piazza and SVX are sexy and interesting respectively but both were complete financial failures


viewtopic.php?t=2212&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30
Quote:
Isuzu Piazza/Impulse, First Generation (1980-1990) – Japan: 39,448, USA: 68,089, UK: 1,662. Australia - ?.


109,199

That's more than one hundred thousand cars. And it excludes mainland Europe and Australia.

Don't confuse the mismanagement of the UK distribution subcontractor and ill advised tinkering with the product by the Australian distribution subcontractor, with the success or failure of the car manufacturer in making a good product or making money off the product.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:59 am 
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I think it's not a very good selection of japanese cars

Why the 51th of the list is a Volkswagen Passat!? (0_º)

Some of the cars not included in this list that must be in it:

Mitsubishi Galant GTO
Image

Nissan Skyline GTR (1971 and another classic versions)
Image

Image

Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno
Image

Mazda RX-7 Savanna
Image

Maxda RX-3
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:14 pm 
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Quote:
Don't confuse the mismanagement of the UK distribution subcontractor and ill advised tinkering with the product by the Australian distribution subcontractor, with the success or failure of the car manufacturer in making a good product or making money off the product.


No one's doubting it's a "great car" certainly a bold effort and one I have a great deal of affection towards. I suppose it was a 'success' in that you and I still, for one reason or another, want one. Nonetheless....

"After commercial success building lorries and four-wheel drive vehicles. Japanese firm Isuzu decided to try its hand at a sports car. But with no experience in this area of the market, it turned to smaller companies for assistance. The first to be called was Italdesign, which offered Isuzu the use of the 'Ace Of Spades' concept car seen at the 181 Geneva Motor Show. The concept was developed into a production reality, but to cut costs it used a General Motors platform plucked from the Vauxhall Chevette - a car not renowned for its sporting agility.
The car's handling was atrocious and, to make matters worse, the build quality was also dire. Isuzu turned to Lotus for help in developing the Piazza's handling, but by then it was too late and the damage had been done, costing the company millions. Isuzu never ventured into car building again."

"The World's Worst Cars" Financial Failures/ Isuzu Piazza pg162

I've read that article at least six times, and stared deep and long into the picture of the sexy white Piazza turbo accompaning it. For shame..... As far as 109,199 sold, that is over a span of 10 years, so 10,919 a year. Not sure those are the numbers Isuzu was hoping for. In any case hopefully we can agree this car deserved better.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Ando wrote:
Quote:
Don't confuse the mismanagement of the UK distribution subcontractor and ill advised tinkering with the product by the Australian distribution subcontractor, with the success or failure of the car manufacturer in making a good product or making money off the product.


No one's doubting it's a "great car" certainly a bold effort and one I have a great deal of affection towards. I suppose it was a 'success' in that you and I still, for one reason or another, want one. Nonetheless....

"After commercial success building lorries and four-wheel drive vehicles. Japanese firm Isuzu decided to try its hand at a sports car. But with no experience in this area of the market, it turned to smaller companies for assistance. The first to be called was Italdesign, which offered Isuzu the use of the 'Ace Of Spades' concept car seen at the 181 Geneva Motor Show. The concept was developed into a production reality, but to cut costs it used a General Motors platform plucked from the Vauxhall Chevette - a car not renowned for its sporting agility.
The car's handling was atrocious and, to make matters worse, the build quality was also dire. Isuzu turned to Lotus for help in developing the Piazza's handling, but by then it was too late and the damage had been done, costing the company millions. Isuzu never ventured into car building again."

"The World's Worst Cars" Financial Failures/ Isuzu Piazza pg162

I've read that article at least six times, and stared deep and long into the picture of the sexy white Piazza turbo accompaning it. For shame..... As far as 109,199 sold, that is over a span of 10 years, so 10,919 a year. Not sure those are the numbers Isuzu was hoping for. In any case hopefully we can agree this car deserved better.


Check the thread about Speed Hunters HR30-DR30 Skyline identification mix up.
viewtopic.php?t=8594
If you can find the publisher and author of that book, please add their names to the list of poorly researched and written automobile books.

Then read the link previously provided for the Isuzu Piazza information:
viewtopic.php?p=22362#22362
(found a direct link)

Compare that information to what you cited from the book.

Isuzu is the oldest _car_ manufacturer in Japan. Not the oldest truck manufacturer, but the oldest car manufacturer. Isuzu was building Wolsleys in 1922, 40 or 50 years before many of today's popular car makers started making bicycles and washing machines. Somewhere I have a picture of one of these being used as a Japanese army staff car prior to WWII. They partnered with Rootes in 1953 and were making Hilman Minx cars with 100% Japanese content by 1957. They introduced their own completely domestically designed and manufactured car in 1961, the Bellel. And then the Bellett in 1963. The Bellett was developed specifically for it's sporting potential, with the primary design input coming from the group within Isuzu who were involved with racing and putting together racing packages for the Hillman Minx cars being used in professional racing in Japan in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
The Bellett and Bellett GT were the primary rival to the Prince/Nissan Skyline in 60's grand prix racing in Japan, and the threat by the Bellett was one of the primary motivations for Nissan to introduce their Skyline GTR, within a few months of the Bellett GT-R. This certainly indicates that the Bellett was no slouch and that Isuzu had success in building cars at the same time they had success in building commercial trucks.
in the mid 1960's, at a time when Nissan and others were turning to Italian design houses for styling, Isuzu commissioned Giugiaro of Ghia (later Italdseign) to design their 117 Coupe sports car. Hand built and standing alongside the Toyota 2000GT in stature and importance in Japanese automotive history.
The replacement for the Bellett in 1974 came with joint developemnt with General Motors, the Bellett-Gemini, later called the Gemini. It's sister cars include the Chevette, but more notably also the Opel Kadett GTE. The Kadette GTE has a rather noteworthy raeputation as a rally car in Europe, and I am understating this for humor sake. But the Kadett GTE was not available with a 1.6 liter DOHC or 1.8 liter DOHC engine, and the Japanese Gemini sister car was. The Gemini has its own well deserved and earned reputaion as a race car in both Japan and Australia, supporting its own one marque racing series in both countries, and some first in class finishes in Australia's Bathurst race.
Marco Ruiz states in The Complete History of the Japanese Car, 1917 to Present (1986) that 102,883 cars were built by Isuzu in 1978 (Geminis, 117 Coupes, and Florian sedan which replaced the Bellel). That's not a company with no track record of building cars prior to 1980.
And the donor chassis for the Piazza, modified from the Gemini, is the same track proven design found in the Kadett GTE, but now with a 2 liter DOHC engine.

Isuzu did not turn to Lotus to fix the Piazza. Isuzu used its ties through GM to offer trim packages by not only Lotus, but also Irmscher. Comparable trim packages were also offered for the Gemini, Aska (Florian replacement), Bighorn, Wizard, Mu, etc. None of these vehicles required Lotus to "fix" them either. They were sport packages offered above the basic model to entice sales of more expensive cars, using well recognized names. And the Irmscher tuned cars had better handling, less body roll, and quicker slalom times than the Lotus tuned alternatives with the same engine. Bbut no one says Irmscher was hired to fix the Piazza or any of the other cars either.

I know of no examples to show poor build quality for the Piazza. It has spots that rust and things that break just like any other car out there. I've seen plenty of Hondas and Toyotas half the age of my cars but with more damage and rust.
Engine and electronics are particularly robust, especially when compared to the GM sourced replacements for the Bosch/Hitachi system used in the rear wheel drive Piazza. It will idle as steady as a rock. You can use the ECU as a hammer, put it back in, and it will still start, idle like a rock, and run perfectly. GM's Delco ECUs are junk.
Piazzas are not, however, built like a brick s**t house and intended to be used as a work bench or saw horse. The Piazza is an economy priced specialty market car with luxury appointments as standard. It's not a pickup truck or a jeep and it doesn't have quarter inch thick steel floor pan or exterior panels. Treat it like the semi-sports car it is and it rewards you with many, many years of faithful service. Abuse it and beat it like an unwanted dog and it will return the sentiment in spades.

Sales numbers are comparable to any other Japanese car maker of the time who did not have a huge North American presence, or was restricted by their company partner, GM, on marketing in any market they might be competing with GM for sales. Perhaps those sales numbers are even impressive when considering the marketing and sales restrictions faced by Isuzu at the time.

Now, the nice people who wrote and published "The World's Worst Cars" did not research their topic very well. But they published a book and are cited as a credible information source, despite the fact that what they wrote is more rubbish than the topic of their book.

So when are Ben, Kev, and company going start publishing well written and well researched books on these subjects so that we can all find credible, fact based information about these cars?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:01 pm 
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^ No one is questioning whether or not you can use the ECU as a 'hammer', my original premise is that the car was a "financial failure" i.e. Isuzu lost money. Throw out everything else within the article, the fact of the matter is; THE CAR WAS NOT PROFITABLE. Again I like the Piazza, I think it is a beautiful car but it simply was not the sales success Isuzu hoped it would be.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:10 pm 
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As far as the book "The World's Worst Cars" I disagree with numerous examples within. I think the Mazda Cosmo, for instance, was not one of the 'world's worst cars'. But looking at it from the reliability standpoint of the AVERAGE consumer, not enlightened diehard aficionados such as ourselves, I could see how one might think of it as an unreliable vehicle. If everything else in the entire book is unverified, the observation that Isuzu lost money building the Piazza/Impulse is credible. To be honest, if it were a rousing success and they built 500,000 instead of 109,199, I don't think the smile on my face would be nearly as big when I see a prestine example beside me on the roadway.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Still cheers on the link to the Isuzu discussion, it is nice to see the brand has such an intelligent and loyal following here. Sorry my comments ruffled some feathers. Can I assume you own a Piazza/Impulse?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:23 pm 
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I take it this is the book you cite, for one looking to increase their knowledge on all things Isuzu?

Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:34 pm 
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BTW anyone ever read this?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Ando wrote:
^ No one is questioning whether or not you can use the ECU as a 'hammer', my original premise is that the car was a "financial failure" i.e. Isuzu lost money. Throw out everything else within the article, the fact of the matter is; THE CAR WAS NOT PROFITABLE. Again I like the Piazza, I think it is a beautiful car but it simply was not the sales success Isuzu hoped it would be.


Please say what indicates the Piazza was a financial failure and where that information is coming from.
They sold all the Piazzas they made. There is no evidence that they wanted to sell more than they sold. Sure, everyone wants more money, but they devoted a very small percentage of production to a sporty flagship vehicle that was never intended to be the next VW Beetle.
Isuzu didn't stop making cars as a result of the rear wheel drive Piazza. They stopped making cars four years later. They didn't even stop making cars as a result of the 90-93 models. Isuzu stopped making cars because after ten years in the US market, blocked from marketing their products by their corporate partner, that same corporate partner decided to stop buying and rebadging Gemini Coupes as Geo Storms, and eliminate 70,000 units of annual sales, compared to about 7,000 units of annual sales of coupes and sedans under their own name in the US and 23,000 units of annual sales in Japan. They were making 100,000 units per year and had a guaranteed loss of 70% of annual sales with one decision by GM. That combined with the desire not to spend more money meeting the next round of crash safety and emissions standards and the full force of the economic bubble collapse of 1991.

Isuzu's financial difficulties began in 1995, over a year after discontinuing cars and concentrate only on trucks and SUVs, and the slide lasted through 2000. Their financial tail spin from 1995 through 2000 has nothing to do with the cars or the rear drive Piazza, and probably has more to do with not having cars in their offerings alongside the trucks and SUVs.

Really, I'm not trying to take an argumentative or aggressive tone, I'm just so darn frustrated that the same inaccurate information keeps popping out every time you think the rumors have finally been killed off.


Isuzu Memorial and Isuzu Sports are both good books, but are in Japanese. Most of this type of information from Japan starts with the Hilman or Bellett and sometimes stops at 1980 or 1990, leaving out a whole section of the history.
The pre-1960 information in English is going to be little bits and pieces from the paragraph or two in something like a encyclopedia of all Japanese cars or all cars in the world.
There are some really good articles written adn published by Giugiaro and Italdesign to chronicle his work, and he covers Piazza and FF Gemini very well.
The discontinued Car Styling Quarterly book/magazine has a bunch of good articles from 1985 through 1992, with text in three languages.
Little bits can be found in books about other companies, when you can find something about an employee that went from Isuzu to another company, or from another company to Isuzu, like Car Men 15; Shiro Nakamura, Nissan Design. They just couldn't figure out how to omit his entire work history between college graduation and being hired by Nissan in 1999, and the fact that all of his formative work was at Isuzu.

I have not read the In Search Of Australian book. I looked at the website when they were planning their little journey. It might be an enlightning discovery that most of the Australian market negativity was unfounded, or it might be a rehashing of the same thing 25 years later.


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