Last week, Nissan opened a long-overdue permanent heritage gallery at the heart of their Yokohama headquarters building, allowing millions of casual visitors to experience the company’s history. Some carmakers have museums, some have hidden collections, some have heritage parts programs. In general, though, the European brands and select American models enjoy much stronger factory support than the Japanese marques. Take the Guggenheim-like Porsche museum in Stuttgart, or the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center’s restorations, or even Jaguar’s future-proofing of its own vintage icons.
When we’ve talked to representatives of Japanese manufacturers regarding why they don’t have more programs like that, the typical reasons given have related to lack of funds and the pressure to succeed in new car sales (and the fact that heritage programs would sap resources from that goal). These are valid concerns for any business, but perhaps there’s room for both.
How should Japanese carmakers honor their history?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which influential person in the JNC world, living or dead, would you like to meet?”
We found the answers of last week quite interesting. There was dankan‘s proposed tête-à-tête with Akio Toyoda, Daniel‘s pick of the mysterious Shoichiro Irimajiri, and Negishi no Keibajo‘s hilarious choice of a fictional Isuzu spokesman. Former president of Nissan USA Yutaka Katayama (aka Mr K) was selected by several readers, as was father of the Mazda rotary Kenichi Yamamoto. Some of you, like Ken Lim and robin even wanted to waste your one wish on JNC editor-in-chief Ben Hsu. It would undoubtedly be better spent on Honda founder Soichiro Honda (and perhaps Ben can do a Ask Me Anything in a future QotW), which several readers nominated. Of those, the answer that entertained us most was Bob‘s:
Soichiro Honda. Mic drop. I can recount his life, but it’s all over the web. Lousy student. Started his own company at 22. Motorhead. Race car driver. Engineer. Private pilot. Fascinating guy who produced exceptional products. I’ve had a soft spot for Honda since my first CT70 mini and drive one today.
Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.