Why do Japanese cars last longer than German cars?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 15, 2020 05:08 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 15, 2020 05:08 AM

Originally Answered: How come German cars aren’t as long lasting as Japanese cars?
Prologue: This answer really only fits into a certain model of production: Cars of Japanese/German origin produced in their home countries. The reason being, Japanese and German cars made in places like Mexico or the USA hold similar levels of reliability and build quality.

So why do Japanese cars last longer than German cars?

Well, the answer is easy…

Because the entire production process from development until delivery is made under the guise of the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen.

So what is Kaizen?

Kaizen is the philosophy of working in harmony. It originated Post-World War II during the active pursuit to rebuild Japan from the ground up to be stronger and more industrious before. The Japanese believed, and rightly so, that if everyone put in the same level of effort into insuring that the entire Japanese society contributed to a high quality working/production standard, that regardless of time, they would end up creating something of impeccable quality and reliability that would otherwise fail much sooner.

Going backwards in order, the process starts before the work day even begins, where some factories employ personal trainers to guide the entire production floor staff into a frenzied workout in tandem that is supposed to inspire them to work together and to have energy for the day. The production staff rewards those who work together and actively problem solve. The leads on the floor conduct stringent quality standards at random intervals. The production directors work in tandem with the engineers on the development side to make certain that the production process goes as smoothly and precisely as possible, with little margin for error. The engineers create items that have a fine balance of usability, durability and design. They work with designers to insure that the items are ergonomical and appealing. The designers work with program directors who have strict demands as to what they expect the product to be. Even the suppliers who work with the large companies follow the same rules, so that ultimately, every facet of the production cycle is streamlined, balanced, perfected, as minimal and uncluttered as possible.

Germany on the other hand…

Well, it’s no surprise that German’s are exceptional engineers and strict perfectionists. In this regard, they are very similar to the Japanese. However, unlike the Japanese, German’s do not understand balance or restraint. They believe strongly in exhibiting their proclivity for perfection and engineering openly to assert their superiority. This means that often, their products leave the production line working like a finely tuned, handbuilt watch. For the first few years, the level of precision that their products hold is simply unsurpassable and of impeccable quality. However, just like that finely tuned watch, once something small goes slightly out of sync, it doesn’t take long for a cascade effect to take place within the entire product. And because these items are made to such higher and more exacting levels of precision and engineering (to show off their skill) than the Japanese, this also means that the parts to fix said problems are not only more expensive, but the labour required to facilitate such repairs is far more costly.

Couple these costs with owners who would rather pass the issues onto the next buyer, and you have an accelerated progression of wear and unreliability that is often-times hard to curb.

This is where Japanese products come ahead, because they’re never made to higher levels of production quality/engineering than the Japanese producers can actively easily and comfortably deal with so as to ensure profitable and short turnaround times.

In summary, the German’s are top notch assemblers, with excellent products, who let their ego get to their head and rule their production processes, whereas the Japanese are also excellent producers who understand how important every aspect of the production cycle is to retaining business and reputation.

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