The marque sells more than 17 times more cars then Chevrolet in the country.

After taking the title for the most American-made automotive brand in the United States last year, Jeep is slowly expanding its Japanese operations to become the best-selling U.S. marque in the country.

Selling non-Japanese vehicles in Japan, the world’s third-largest auto market, is a tough task. But “Jeep is a rare American success story in a country other U.S. car brands have all but quit,” as Automotive News describes the brand’s local business story in a recent story.

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In the last couple of years, Jeep has always been among the Top 10 foreign brands in Japan, mostly behind European luxury and sports marques. During the first three months of this year, Jeep’s sales are up by 6.9 percent, ranking it seventh from the import brands. In 2016 it sold 9,388 cars, while this year’s target is 10,000.

In August alone, the iconic American company delivered 6,344 vehicles compared to only 373 Chevrolets, fewer than the Ferraris sold in the country during that month. Interestingly, even Lamborghini outsold another U.S. marque in Japan, Cadillac, which registered only 327 sales.

But what’s the secret of Jeep’s success in a country with tariff barriers, where customers’ standards for quality and status are quite high?

"We have to spend money and engineering hours to do it, but we think it's worth it," Pontus Haggstrom, FCA Japan CEO, told reporters during a new Jeep showroom opening in Japan.

"They are things that make our jobs harder and make it more expensive and time consuming to bring cars to Japan. But are they trade barriers? My honest opinion is, no. Are they excuses for why I can't sell or succeed in Japan? No."

Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Cherokee

Specialists believe there are several factors for Jeep’s success in Japan, including tweaked engines that meet the local eco-car incentives, standard folding side mirrors for Japan's tight parking lots, and factory-installed GPS systems with maps for the cities in Japan. Also, all the models of the brand are offered as right-hand drive.

Another important reason for success is the fact that, by the end of this year, Jeep will have a dealer network of 82 centers in Japan, up from only 52 in 2010. The company has also more than doubled its marketing and advertising budget in the last seven years.

"It's more about the brand and less about the origin," Haggstrom commented. "In previous stores, it was very much the U.S. dealership transplanted in Japan."

Read the full story at the source link below.

Source: Automotive News

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