Nippon Ford Assembly Plant, Yokohama, c. 1930.

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Aerial view of the Nippon Ford assembly plant, Yokohama, c. 1930. (Colorized)

See also:
The Autobus in Tokyo, c. 1930.
1925 Chevrolet Series K & 1929 Cadillac LaSalle, Tokyo Station, c. 1930.

“From 1925 to 1936 Ford dominated automobile sales in Japan. Indeed, Ford’s only true competition came from Chevrolet. Toyoda (Toyota) made power looms, Datsun (Nissan) did not exist, and Honda Shichiro was still a student. The few Japanese companies making cars in the early 1920s built them by hand, making fewer than one hundred cars a year and only a slightly larger number of trucks.

“Initially, in 1917, Ford began operating through import-export companies in Japan, which sold completely assembled cars, largely by word of mouth. Later, the company decided to invest directly in the company and, in 1925, Nippon Ford was incorporated.

“In those days, the business climate was favorable as militarism had not yet taken hold and the government welcomed foreign enterprises that would provide jobs and increase the industrial base of the country. Though there was a tariff of 25 percent on imported automobiles, this did not price Fords beyond the reach of the Japanese consumer.

“Ford, with a network of 80 dealers became number one in sales the first year [1927] it started assembly of knockdown units there. Model T chassis were sold as well for installation of bodies by local shops to customer order.”

“Nippon Ford”, by J. Scott Matthews, Michigan Historical Review, Fall 1996

“Offloading automobile assembly kits and parts.” Three Views of the Nippon Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, Yokohama, c. 1930.

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