10 Fun Facts to Know About JDM Cars - iCarBusiness (2024)

We have an infatuation with JDM cars, but do you know why? What makes the Japanese Domestic Market cars ones we want to talk about and enjoy?

It might surprise some people to know that cars built for other markets aren’t the same as the cars made for the United States. We have some of the strictest automotive regulations in the world and foreign automakers must adhere to our standard to sell here. Considering this, nearly everything is different in the Honda sold here and the Honda sold in Japan, even if they have the same name.

1. Japan Makes More Cars than the United States

The island nation of Japan loves it cars. Some of the cars made in this country are shipped out as exports, but most automakers have assembly plants much closer to the market where their vehicles are sold. The United States is the sixth-largest producer of vehicles in the world with 3.03 models made in 2018. Japan was in the second spot with 8.35 million models. That’s an incredible difference especially when you consider how big the United States is.

2. What are True JDM Cars?

Not all cars that are sold in Japan fall into this category. In fact, cars must be built in the country and have the right parts to fall in the authentic category. There are some cars made in Japan but built for the American market. These cars might have JDM parts added to them, but that does not put them in the desired category. This means there might only be a small number of cars that are authentically Japanese, but with the numbers built, that’s not the case.

3. The United States is a Dumping Ground

Japan is very strict about its cars and the older a vehicle is, the more taxes a driver will pay. That is one reason for the incredible production and turnover of vehicles in the country. There are cemeteries for old cars where they go to die. These locations are called Kyusha cemeteries. Because Japan is strict about old cars and America allows the import of cars that don’t meet US standards once they are 25 years-old, The US is the perfect dumping ground.

4. A Confusing Difference Between Japanese Cars

Cars and parts made for the Japanese market in Japan that are only sold within the country are authentic JDM cars. Pars made for international markets to allow cars to seem more like the JDM models are called J-Spec cars. The difference between these types of vehicles is often the power. The street-legal cars in Japan might not pass scrutiny in the United States and could be turned away at the port for being illegal to drive on US roads.

5. More Horsepower; Yes, Please

The speed limit in Japan is 62 mph, or at least it was for a long time. To avoid putting useless horsepower into cars that had to legally adhere to this speed limit, there was an unwritten agreement that all Japanese carmakers would limit their cars to 276 horsepower. When the Honda Legend it the streets of Japan in 2004, it brought 300 horsepower and broke the agreement. Since then, there hasn’t been a limit on the horsepower for Japanese cars.

6. Aftermarket Turbos Came from Japan

You might think a country where horsepower was limited would not be the place where a company went looking for more horsepower. HKS Japan developed the first aftermarket turbos for cars, which is a bit of a surprise. If you’re looking to import any of the qualifying JDM cars, you might ask for an HKS kit be part of that car. This gives you more power and an authentic car that was truly made to deliver the goods in the streets in Japan.

7. How Can You Have Fun at Less than 70 MPH?

If the nationwide speed limit is 62 mph, how can you legally have fun while driving your car? Japan gave us drifting and its become something of a global sensation ever since. Drifting first came in the 1970s when a race car driver made an interesting move on the track. The racer would oversteer at the corners and allow the rear end to make a huge cloud of smoke and dust, which caught on and became an instant sensation.

8. Don’t Put a Green and Yellow Arrow on Your Car

There isn’t a special sticker to indicate that a vehicle is one of the JDM cars on the streets. Somehow this rumor caught on an foreigners thought it was something that told others they had an authentic car. The green and yellow arrowhead is the Shoshinka or Wakaba mark which is a mark that tells other driver the person behind the wheel has less than a year of driving experience. Basically, this is the mark of the noob, not something you want to advertise.

9. Japanese Cars Can be Extremely Powerful

Even those cars that were kept at 276 horsepower have the potential to unleash a massive beast of power. This is what makes JDM cars so attractive, even 25 years after they were first built. It doesn’t’ take a lot of money or effort to tun a 276 horsepower car into one that delivers 500 horses or more. These engines offer impressive modularity and can be built up to create amazing speed and power by tuners that get their hands on them.

10. US Buyers are Huge Customers for Japanese Junkyards

There aren’t very many authentic JDM parts sold in the United States, which makes buying a car or parts from a junkyard in Japan an important thing for people in America with these cars. These Japanese Junkyards are turning huge profits on these old cars and old car parts. You don’t find Americans only buying Skylines and Supra parts, they buy many parts for a variety of authentic JDM cars that have made the trek to the United States.

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10 Fun Facts to Know About JDM Cars - iCarBusiness (2024)


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