If you pay attention to the automotive world, you may have noticed that vehicles in Japan look different from those in the rest of the world, including the United States. Since many of the world’s major automakers are Japanese, this change in appearance is something that can impact the whole world. This makes it very clear that Japanese automakers are starting to go through a shift in style. So far, Honda and Toyota have the most obvious examples of this stylistic shift, but Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Mazda all seem to be revitalizing their styling as well.

The Changes

Toyota has added aggressive bumpers and plenty of curves to its models with focused design language. Toyota calls its push for organic-looking vehicles “Waku Waku Doki Doki,” meaning excited heart thumping and heightened anticipation. Honda uses an angular geometric language that is new in its production cars. Its concept vehicles are even more unique. While Mazda’s vehicles are closer to their predecessors than those of Honda and Toyota, the automaker is still making changes. Mazda is putting in a concerted effort to make vehicles that are more visually appealing. For Mazda, this has been through getting inspiration from traditional Japanese styling and tradition.

Some argue that Nissan may have begun the visual renaissance the Japanese automakers are currently undergoing. After all, it had a massive visual change a few years before Toyota did. Nissan continues to make strides, such as with the IMx concept that is ultra-modern and has current exterior styling with a traditional Japanese-inspired interior.

Fear of Competition

For years, it was a given that Japanese vehicles would be of high-quality and offer an amazing value, but would not necessarily be the most attractive. Now, however, the increasing competition, particularly that from other Asian countries, has pushed Japanese automakers to do something that helps them stand out from the crowd.

They Want to Draw in Business

The general consensus is that all of the Japanese automakers are working to make dramatic changes to their exteriors to keep the vehicles appealing and draw in more business. With the increasing competitiveness of the automotive segment, getting new customers and keeping existing ones is crucial. The automakers just need to continue to focus on what goes on under the hood and the other components as well.

Japan Also Prefers Small Cars

In addition to the differences in styling that Japanese automakers are embracing, Japan also seems to have a love for smaller cars compared to their counterparts from the other parts of the world. These are referred to as K cars or Kei cars from the Japanese “Kei jidosha” meaning “light automobile.” The K cars include passenger vehicles as well as cars and trucks with the common theme of being very small. These first arrived following the war as a way for the Japanese to have access to an inexpensive vehicle that could help the country build its automotive industry. You can tell the difference between a K car and a compact or sub-compact since K cars have yellow license plates.