I love 70s movies. One of the most famous comedy-action movies released in that period was The Cannonball Run. I remember a very funny segment of the first movie of that series where they featured a Japanese team. Of course they’re driving a Japanese car. What made the appearance of the Japanese team quite interesting was the fact that the engine of their car would make this whining noise. Now keep in mind that the noise didn’t sound like the car was about to blow apart. That’s a definite red flag. Instead, it made this whining noise as if there’s some sort of gear that was not adjusted properly. The running gag was that Japanese cars have slight flaws in operation or they’re simply not engineered right. Whatever the case may be, for the longest time prior to the 1970s, Japanese automotive products had a reputation of somehow being off or being not as good as old-school American automotive lines.
As it turns out, thanks to the Arab oil embargo and the oil and gas crunch of the 1970s, Japanese cars were not only able to perform at the same level as American cars, but in many significant and dramatic ways outperformed all American automotive products. This was due to the fact that the Japanese early on after the war adopted a quality control and quality assurance system pioneered by an American. Interestingly enough, this American quality control consultant and authority could not get any support in the United States. That’s how arrogant many American automotive giants were at that time. They didn’t want to be disturbed. They felt that the status quo was good enough as it was so there was really no incentive on their part to step up the quality of their offerings.