Around 1900, the land-speed record in the Western World, stood at about 100 km/h, in Japan, at that time, the use of normal motor cars was virtually unknown. The Western World divided the tasks among themselves: Germany supplied the engine (together with it's carriage), which they had invented, France quickly distributed it among the population and the USA made it suitable for the masses.
Nothing like this happened in the Far East. In the beginning, central Europe and the USA also had an attrocious road system, where, e.g., often enough, the dust build-up obstructed any advancement, indeed, in Japan, even this would hardly have been possible. One couldn't help feeling, that the towns were purposely built so narrow, that getting around in them with anything other than a hand-cart, pulled by a person, was just about impossible.
When the road system is bad, the possible range of activity of course, is also limited. Thus, it stayed this way until deep into the 1920's. The first cars that came from overseas, were from Ford and General Motors, whereby the latter were increasingly used after the great earthquake of 1923. After all, in the wake of big natural disasters, roads can be rebuilt much faster than, e.g., rail connections. Ford remained the leader, you can guess with which model, against GM, Europe was only represented in the compact- and sub-compact range.
Looking at Japan's activities in the field of motor vehicle production, it was not only that the development of the licensing of Italian- or British products had to be kept going, there were also far too few suppliers, without whom, no motor vehicle producer could exist, particularly not nowadays. 04/12
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