By KIM LEE/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Japanese automakers and automakers including General Motors Co, Mitsubishi Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG are pushing the Japanese automotive industry forward with their newest models, making them among the world’s most popular brands.
But while Japanese automakers have long touted their brand-new cars, they’ve largely kept the same styling and basic performance as their Japanese counterparts, often sticking to the same nameplates and selling the same models.
And that’s putting the onus on buyers to make up for the absence of familiar models.
As Japanese automakers attempt to revive their fortunes and grow their brand appeal in a market that has long been dominated by Toyota and Honda, their cars and trucks are among the most sought-after in the United States, especially with the opening of new stores in major cities.
The Japanese brands’ success comes as the United Nations has issued a landmark report saying that climate change is having an adverse impact on the global economy.
That report came just a week after the U.S. government approved the first U.N. global climate pact in more than 50 years.
In the United Kingdom, the government is also launching a $1.8 billion fund to help companies develop clean tech solutions, and the government said it will spend up to £3.5 billion ($4.6 billion) on the 2020-2021 budget to fund research and development of green vehicles.
In France, the French government announced plans to invest $1 billion in electric vehicle development.
In India, Toyota Motor Corp is building an all-electric car for India, but it will not be built in India.
“We see the world as a very interesting place, with lots of opportunities,” Mitsubishis chief executive Takashi Koyama said at the auto show in Japan.
But he added: “It is a complex environment and we have to be very careful.”
Koyama, whose company made its first commercial car in 1981, has been trying to create more diverse brands in Japan for years.
But this year, Mitsutoshis latest models were designed in partnership with Toyota Motor Group and will be produced by the Japanese automaker.
“This is an extremely important step for us, as a Japanese automaking company, to create a new brand that reflects the global trends,” said Mitsubisha Group Chairman Katsumasa Koyasu.
The brand, known as Toyota Motor Company, was launched in Tokyo in 1984.
The brand’s current flagship model is the Camry.
It is the second Japanese car company to make an all electric vehicle in China, after a small SUV from Toyota Motor Co. The company launched a brand new electric vehicle last year.
Toyota, Mitsukas most profitable Japanese automakers, was one of the first Japanese automakers to introduce an electric vehicle into production in 2005.
But the company has struggled to produce a successful, high-end electric vehicle.