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The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

Whats with JDM?

Erick Mclean
Two Japanese right-hand-drive Nissan GT-Rs posed by the seaside for a beautiful photoshoot, one of the many popular sports cars In Japan and America alike

Why are Japanese imported cars so popular for many individuals in the United States? First, for those who do not know, JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market. A Japanese car in America must be purchased by an individual who previously imported the vehicle or purchased and imported it themselves.

However, companies like Toyota once imported their cars before relocating to the United States. The difference was that the cars and trucks were built specifically for the U.S. market, with the usual left-hand drive found in every American car, truck, and motor vehicle. The only question is why Americans would choose to import and deal with regulations and tons of paperwork to bring a JDM car or truck to the States.

The value of a car, especially an imported car, can be impacted drastically due to the make and model and the rarity in the United States. The uniqueness of a lefthanded operated Car, usually a sports car like a skyline, Supra, or even a small truck such as a Kei truck, can fluctuate enormously just because of its name, popularity, or the fact that it is imported. For example, a Kei truck, a small truck noticeably similar in size to a smart car but with a 6ft bed, can be bought in Japan for around two thousand U.S. dollars. However, if one wanted to import into the United States, the shipping cost alone would double the fee of the truck, if not more. That is just for a small used kei truck. The prices for a refurbished and pre-imported kei truck are up to 13-17 thousand from import companies.

“The tiny trucks are a common sight on Japanese roads, but they have also won over some Americans wanting a versatile, compact, and cheap vehicle.” (Ryan Hogg).

The Car Community of the United States has changed since the importation of JDM vehicles, dating back to the 1950s. Since then, American car culture has loved and desired JDM vehicles. Arguably, even more so in the 21st century with the growing love for JDM and American cars. A new consumer study by SEMA’s Marketing Research department. The recently released “SEMA Young Accessorizers Report” suggests that this demographic is still as car crazy as ever—just in a different way” (Specialty et al. Association)

Style, performance, and safety are qualities in Japanese imports. Such as the Acura Integra, Honda Civic, and Mazda hatchback. Which are imported production vehicles for the United States. These three were awarded as the 2023 “Top Safety Pick award winners” by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Vehicles that perform best in our evaluations qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK, which has been awarded since the 2006 model year, or TOP SAFETY PICK+, which was inaugurated in 2013” (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

As Mike Imlay from SEMA and Gavin Knapp conveyed, “Ultimately, young people are like other specialty-equipment consumers in that they are pursuing aspirations, just from a different angle.” Knapp said, “When they talk about what is important for them socially, it is about actually being with their friends. Furthermore, how do you make that happen? You get in the car, and you drive. And when they get to the point of driving and having the car, suddenly all the cool activities and adventures you can do with cars, trucks, and SUVs open up to them.”

Three Beautiful Japanese vehicles starting with the Subaru WRX Sti on the left a newer Nissan GT-R on the right and in the center a Mazda RX-7 known for its popup headlights, aggressive frontend, and unique rotary engine rarely if not ever found in modern vehicles
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About the Contributor
Samuel Torres
Samuel Torres, Staff Writer
Samuel Torres is a hard-working, charming individual who in his free time, enjoys watching anime, sketching, off-roading, and hanging out with his friends and family. He is a Senior and has attended SRA for three years. He aspires to join the military for four years, go to trade school and start an online business. Samuel views the world as something to explore and wants to travel all over someday. His medieval weapon of choice is a sword! 
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