The lazy Japanese car manufacturers in India

While I do realize that it is easier to criticize but considering what the Koreans and even the Europeans are doing, I believe, there is absolutely no excuse for the Japanese.

BHPian sidharthg recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So I’ve noticed certain laziness on part of the Japanese car manufacturers. It is pretty consistent among the top 3 – Suzuki, Toyota & Honda. I will try to provide a summary of the levels of laziness of each of them IMHO. While I do realize that it is easier to criticize but considering what the Koreans and even the Europeans are doing, I believe, there is absolutely no excuse for the Japanese. Considering, the kind of first mover advantage or extensive portfolio they have internationally:


  • Considering India is the largest market for Suzuki, there is absolutely no innovation, except cheap prices (that also isn’t too true anymore).
  • Extremely poor safety standard
  • Zero Electrification
  • No Global car launches in India. If I’m correct, they are mostly launched in Indonesia or Europe or other SE Asian countries and then they are launched in India. Case in point – Ertiga or XL6, etc.
  • 2021 Suzuki Swift launched today is certainly another lazy upgrade with no industry leading specs.


  • I don’t even know where to begin!
  • Shameless Glanza & Urban Cruiser take the cake!
  • They haven’t really done much to Innova since it’s launch besides a little nip & tuck.
  • Corolla is gone, Yaris doesn’t even cut it as a competition to C-segment cars. Liva, etc are all gone!
  • They have such an amazing global portfolio of SUVs & MVs but they are just too slow.
  • Camry is an amazing product but it is simply too overpriced for its worth.


  • Mobilio gone, Civic gone, CR-V gone, Accord gone.
  • Absolutely poor portfolio of small vehicles that are simply outmatched viz-a-viz Korean counterparts.
  • City is too overpriced for what it is.
  • CVTs in the portfolio is an absolute disaster. I wonder why they even continue to invest in such a bad gearbox!
  • Poor conditions of dealers & sales personnel (personally experienced the horrible sales attitude).
  • No electric car
  • All this is so evident from the fact that the Greater Noida plant is shut. What a pity.


  • One-hit wonders will not cut out for them
  • They couldn’t even bother to change the Datsun front grill on the Nissan Magnite.
  • As with all of the above companies, their global portfolio is amazing, but they continue to offer really second thought products in India.
  • Where is the Leaf? Even Benz got EQC for awareness!
  • X-Trail is gone.
  • No word on the new Sunny.
  • Kicks is barely cutting it out and available at steep discounts.
  • Incredibly poor Datsun attempt!

This rant basically sums up the thoughts. IMHO, they should really learn something from Hyundai/KIA group. All of the above may also hold true for Skoda/VW but they are now making a sincere attempt to get their act together. However, with petrol crossing Rs.100, I think the only petrol portfolio will come back to bite them in the rear end!

On the other hand look at Tata, they are simply killing it. They have literally come back from the grave! Thanks a lot to Guenter Butschek I guess. He has done an amazing job!

Here’s what BHPian M00M had to say on the matter:

I agree with all your points. In 2003, when Honda launched dolphin-shaped City, it was 8 lac rupees on road. I happened to check the billing papers that go to RTO. I was shocked to see that the cost of the car for Honda to make was only 3.6 lacs and the remaining was just taxes levied by GOI and MH government. In my opinion, the governments of India, including all political parties talk very big during elections but later, all are the same. They either are in denial and later learn the truth or we are just made to be fools.

Now taking the above into consideration, just think how much tax they collect therefore there is very little for OEM to charge and make money. I’m not saying that OEMs are loss-making, but I feel the OEM wants their share and GOI and MH government want their share and we have nowhere to go. In order to maybe satisfy us, they water down the safety or features or structural integrity aspect and give us a bad product which is extremely despicable behaviour. I think with GST, certain things changed. But still, taxes are high in India.

If anyone thinks I’m going off topic, I would disagree because these are some of the reasons I personally feel that these Japanese companies are not bringing latest technology to India.

I personally think we Indians are foolish to buy Maruti Suzuki considering how unsafe they are, I think that Toyota is milking us in the name of reliability, and Honda is just confused about which direction to take. The Koreans have made inroads by maybe having less upfront cost on the car but having owned a few of them, they’re unreliable, not the same level of reliability as the Japanese. They’re unsafe which all crash tests prove and their maintenance is also very heavy (I’m talking from personal experience).

Toyota globally was adamant about not shifting to EV and even in the latest press release for USA, they said we will introduce EV but still think hybrids are better which means that they’re still adamant on sticking to their guns. Now what will happen is market dynamics will force them to move or get irrelevant. I expect the same for Honda and Maruti Suzuki.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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