In a page taken from Tony Stark’s management handbook, Toyota president Akio Toyoda was candid when asked what vehicles he liked from the competition. Speaking to a group at his inauguration as Chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the grandson of Toyota’s founder Kiichiro Toyoda called out his favorite vehicles from Japanese rivals Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Honda, and Nissan. We’ll save you some time by telling you up front none are currently sold in America today.
For Mitsubishi, Toyoda enjoys the Pajero, an SUV that was the first real challenger to Toyota’s Land Cruiser. First unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1973, the Pajero has turned in solid sales figures in the global market and has been in production since 1982. In America, the Pajero’s sibling, the Montero, went through three-generations of production for the American market before Mitsubishi decided to head in another, more fuel-efficient direction.
Isuzu, which is still a player in the world market even though it has stopped selling passenger cars in the U.S., produced 170,737 Bellett vehicles, none of which were better to Toyoda than the 1963 model. The Bellett was offered as a two- or four-door sedan and an extremely rare two-door station wagon.
Mazda captured Toyoda’s attention with the 1967 Cosmo Sport Roadster, the first vehicle by the rival automaker to use the Cosmo name. Also known as the 110 S, the Cosmo Sport Roadster used the first two-rotor rotary engine which first bowed at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show. Production started in May of 1967 and was halted in 1972 with 1,176 units made. If that number sounds low for a vehicle that was in production for six years, it’s because every unit was hand-built, and only one could be made a day.
The final two automakers Toyoda mentioned weren’t as obscure to the American public as the first two. For Honda, Toyoda is a fan of the NSX, the legendary sports car that’s expected to make a comeback in the next few years. The latest Honda NSX concept bowed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January but a production date hasn’t been nailed down officially as of yet. Nissan grabbed Toyoda’s attention with the Skyline which later morphed into the GT-R and the rest is history for Nissan.
So what say you? Do you have a favorite vehicle from the aforementioned Japanese automakers? Tell us your choices in the comment section below.
Source: Torque News