Japanese automakers are trying to win back business in the European auto market with new cars fitted with smart interiors and small fuel-efficient diesel engines.
Automakers in Japan have decided to stop losing ground in Europe to South Korean rivals Kia and Hyundai, by reducing the costs and investing profits from a weaker yen to ensure strong growth on the Old Continent in the following years.
Two years ago Japanese automakers have been dramatically affected by the floods, tsunamis and earthquakes which have disrupted production and made car makers such as Toyota and Mazda to focus more on their solid position in the North American market. Now they turn their attention to Europe, which is the most demanding market when it comes to design, fuel efficiency, quality and handling.
“Business has turned around. If you talk to most of the auto companies, it’s doom and gloom but our story is the exact opposite,” said Jeff Guyton, head of Mazda in Europe, in an interview at Frankfurt’s auto show.
Although Japanese automakers have long taken advantage of their reputation for reliability, this ended when Kia and Hyundai introduced a range of affordable and stylish vehicles developed according to the Europeans’ tastes and offering them with extra long warranties of up to seven years.