JDM needs to complete its comeback
How Japanese companies need to complete the puzzle
At the moment performance cars are coming thick and fast from every direction. But not as much from Japan's direction. Ask any petrolhead worth their salts to name the definitive fast sports car, and you can guarantee the word "Impreza" will soon exit their mouth. You see in the 1990s and early 2000s, the cars dominating the performance car market were Honda's NSX, the Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru Impreza and Nissan GT-R Skyline.
If you are young you might not be all that aware of all these cars. That is exactly my point. The Subaru and Mitsubishi are no longer in production. Subaru, still make an Impreza, but I refuse to understand why Subaru have used the nameplate of their rallying legend on a bland hatchback. If you ask me Subaru will not exist in a decade if they carry on like this. They have even killed off the Impreza's successor, the WRX STI, and the fizzy little BRZ is on its way out. Mitsubishi are in the same hole. They once built an Impreza rival, a four drive wheel, rallying hero. Take a glance at their current range and it's enough to make a person cry. Ten years ago they killed off the last Evo, now the are busy churning out crossovers. In my mind it's simple. Subaru and Mitsubishi need to do what they used to. Produce an affordable, be winged, four wheel drive rally inspired saloon car, to steal customers from hot hatches.
Mind you it's not just Subaru and Mitsubishi that need to pull their socks up. Honda, creators of the magnificent original NSX, and Civic Type R are doing quite well. Well, mostly. Yes the latest Type R Civic is, while being a slight challenge to look at, brilliant. Fast, manual, front wheel drive and amazingly agile. But what about the NSX. To be honest I had forgotten they still made it. Five years ago, Honda reimagined the NSX as a hybrid supercar. Brave? Very. Especially considering they charged £144,000, and that the interior was below par with a VW Golf. Realistically, how well was it going to be. Well to be fair, it wasn't too bad. But £144k? For a Honda? A Honda that shared bits of its interior with the Jazz? Hmm. The NSX was always the simple, cheapest ( except the NSX-R) supercar, and that's how it should be. Not a complex hybrid. If Honda needs any guidance they should give Nissan a call.
I should hope that you are aware of the Nissan GT-R, specifically the R34 Spec V. This car ripped up the performance car rulebook, as it was rapid and all wheel drive, but cheaper than all the supercars at the time. Now the R34 is something of a legend, and command huge amounts of money. Anyway in 2002 production ended. But then five years later, Nissan broke onto the scene with their new, R35 GT-R. It was ground braking. Bonkers fast, all wheel drive grip, and it looked similar to the previous one. Oh, and it cost £60,000, which was about £90,000 less than the Ferrari 458 Italia. The GT-R is still going strong, and it still takes a pretty good car to beat it.
JDM cars aren't dead, some are still going strong. But some companies, a.k.a Subaru and Mitsubishi need a kick up the arse, and produce the cars we want. Honda needs to go back to their roots with the NSX, and Nissan can carry on as they are. Even Toyota now make a gorgeous looking Supra, and I hope they will progress to make a new MR2. But even if they don't they still have the awesome Yaris GRMN hot hatch, and I hear that Gazoo Racing are working on an all wheel drive homologation special Yaris. Hear that Subaru and Mitsubishi?