The history of the Japanese auto industry comes to life in two parallel exhibitions in Los Angeles. The first exhibition is entitled “The Roots of Monozukuri: The Creative Spirit in Japanese Automobile Manufacturing”. It highlights key elements of Japanese design philosophy in the years before Japan dominated the market in the 1970s. The second exhibition, “Fine Tuning: Japanese-American Customs”, examines the rise of culture Japanese automotive and personalization in the domestic and US markets and how the two influenced each other to redefine automotive culture.
It all started in 1917 when the very first Japanese production car rolled off the line – at the time, the Japanese automaker took over much of the car manufacturing know-how from the United States.
âHenry Ford may have invented the mobile assembly line,â said Leslie Kendall, chief historian at the Peterson Automotive Museum. âBut it was the Japanese who perfected the assembly techniques. They were the ones who made the ‘just in time’ delivery system that kept stocks really low so they could be as efficient as possible with their. manufacturing and they also invest a lot in their people, in the health of their people, in the mental well-being of their people. It’s a holistic approach to automotive manufacturing that has really resonated over time. “
In the early years, Japanese cars were generally considered cheap and poorly built. But the quality is constantly improving, and in the 1970s Japanese cars conquered markets all over the world. and makes Japan a leading player in the global automotive industry. Vehicles on display include Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Honda, Datsun, Suminow, Hino and Fuji. The exhibits “The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking” and “Fine Tuning: Japanese-American Customs” can be seen through April at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.