Bryan Caplan  

Anti-Foreign Car Guys to Japan: Thanks!

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The most vociferous bearer of anti-foreign bias that I know is also a life-long car afficionado. (He and his buddies call themselves "car guys.")

A couple of days ago he was telling me about the low level of quality control for U.S. cars into the 1960's. New cars were routinely sold with dents, scratches, and fairly obvious mechanical problems.

What changed? I was taken aback when he freely admitted that the driving force was... competition from Japan. Japanense auto-makers held themselves to much higher standards than the Americans. Once U.S. car-buyers saw the difference, U.S. auto-makers soon felt intense pressure to raise the bar. And they did.

At this point, you might ask: Does this mean that my car guy is going to change his mind about imposing a naval blockade on Japan, and offer a heartfelt "Domo arigato"? Not on your life. Japanese competition may have done some good forty years ago, but now it's ruining our great country!

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The author at in a related article titled Anti-Foreign Car Guys to Japan: Thanks! writes:
    [Source: EconLog: Library of Economics and Liberty] quoted: (December 25, 2006 03:30 PM, by Bryan Caplan) The most vociferous bearer of anti-foreign bias that I know is also a life-long car afficionado. (He and his buddies.. [Tracked on December 27, 2006 1:01 AM]
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Omer K writes:

Some people never integrate their thoughts..preferring to live by the feel good hormones in their brains. Nothing new.

mgroves writes:

I thought the last of the anti-Japanese products guys had converted over to anti-Chinese products guys.

Brad Hutchings writes:

Guilty as charged when it comes to cars... I've had Chryslers, Fords, and (finally!) a Chevy. I'll never ever ever buy a Toyota. I once owned a Datsun 240Z as a project car for a couple years, but it just wasn't as fun as even a Ford Taurus. Now, I have a Mustang GT and a Blazer. My best friend from growing up is the same way. He's got an F150 and a Yukon, with a Corvette in winter storage. Says he's considering a Nissan Titan... it's the first foreign brand truck that feels American to him. And that's most of the issue with us few holdouts to American brands... The Japanese cars don't feel American. To me, they've always felt like boxes you get into rather than something that's an extension of you. Mazda sorta has that peppiness image going for it and its cars, mostly thanks to the long term success of the RX7 and the acquisition by Ford.

BMW and Volkswagen get this, and they deliver styling that Americans like. Mercedes does with its coups, but not its bigger, Nazi cars. How come the Chrysler products look aggressive and beefy, but Mercedes still look boxy and proletariat? Same company, same designers. Lots of the same parts. Go figure. The Toyota Prius is the ugliest damned thing on the road. People who drive them must really, really feel good about themselves inside, kinda like heavy women who wear their clothes too tight. Because they are fugly on the outside.

All that aside, I'm a huge Sony fan and totally thankful that Nike makes its shoes in China and Viet Nam so that I can have a dope pair of Dunks for $60-ish. Not all American car guys are Dobbsian morons ;-). Many just can't express what they dislike about Japanese and other foreign brands.

Carrie writes:


If only people would realize all over the country that the fact that Toyota is now in the Big 3 hurts us more than it helps us then maybe they would think twice about what type of car they buy. I live in Michigan. Believe me I have seen the changes. Jobs have been slashed at Ford and GM. And it's a sad sight to see. My husband works for Ford and I don't believe there is anything wrong with being pro-american cars. The comment that those cars just don't "feel" american is right on. I couldn't have said it better. I won't even ride in one.

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