Foreign Vehicles Becoming More Popular in Japan

From Christian Science Monitor

A few years ago, the sight of a foreign car in Japan would have turned heads. But these days, import sales are booming in the land of the rising yen.

“In the past, import customers were a small community, but now it’s becoming a much broader community,” says Shigeharu Mitsubori, managing director of Ford of Yokohama. "[Showroom] traffic has increased very dramatically” this year, he says, as it has for import dealers across Japan.

In 1985, the Japanese bought only 46,171 foreign-made cars, accounting for 1.7% of the total passenger car market. This year, Ford of Japan alone will exceed that total. And by the end of the decade, imports are likely to take at least 10% of the Japanese market.