After receiving a second chance from the Obama administration. Detroit promised better quality components and promised to listen to what the American people wanted in their cars. People just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Yeah, sure.” They had heard that story from Detroit before, and no one expected anything. Yet Detroit delivered.
No one can be certain as to whether it was the American auto industry’s near death experience and seeing the shining light at the end of the tunnel that brought about its conversion, but what is certain is that the American industry seems to have found its way. In addition to its success, some major Japanese brands have experienced a few serious setbacks: the Korean brands are nipping at the heels of Japanese car makers in the American market, and American reviewers have downgraded a number of nearly iconic Japanese car models, just to name a couple of the problems facing the Japanese industry. Suddenly, the American car market has turned into a real dogfight.
American consumers have started to buy American cars again, and even occasionally say good things about them to auto reviewers. But more to the point, American thieves have begun to steal American cars again. There isn’t a more accurate assessment of automotive value than a car’s ability to attract thieves. You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but when it comes to cars, you can never fool a thief.
Car thieves only steal cars that they can immediately off load, or strip down for parts that they can sell right away. If there’s no money in it, they’re not going to steal it. Therefore, car thieves are the ultimate quality /consumer satisfaction judges of autos and auto parts.
So, here is the bad news for Japan: according to a spokesman for the Highway Loss Data Institute, which counts stolen cars, “There weren’t any Japanese cars in the top ten stolen cars in the U.S. for 2010. In fact, not only didn’t a single Japanese car make it into the top 10 hot car list, not a single imported car made it in, either.”
The most frequently stolen car in the U.S. in 2010 was the Cadillac Escalante, followed by various GM and Ford models, especially pickup trucks. A Dodge model even made it on to the list.
Don’t worry if you have no idea what a Cadillac Escalante is. They’re not too common in Japan. But if you do own one, remember to close your doors and lock the ignition. Japan is home to serious car thieves, too. In fact, according to the National Police Agency, around 150,000 cars were stolen in Japan in 2010, and this figure is significantly lower than the peak of over 400,000 cars stolen in 2002.