March 21 marks Harmony Day in Australia, a celebration of multiculturalism and diversity. Held annually, the day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
In honour of this special occasion, we’re taking a look at different car makers from around the world, and how their models celebrate and pay homage to the cultures of their home countries.
Japan – Trusted and reliable
Japan’s automotive sector is known for its emphasis on innovation and technology. Many Japanese car brands are household names around the world, with several having earned a reputation for producing the most reliable cars in market. Indeed the ‘What Car? Reliability Survey’ from 2017 which looked at over 14,000 cars, from new to three years old, found six of the top 10 brands were Japanese.1 What makes brands such as Mazda, Subaru, Isuzu and Honda so reliable?
Many cite the Japan’s frugal approach to car construction, which emerged in the wake of World War II, when Japan wasn’t able to replicate the mass production model pioneered by Henry Ford. Instead, manufacturers had to make do with less, meaning there was less room for error and a greater need to fix any defects as soon as possible. Japanese culture is also said to play a part in the reliability of the cars they produce. Loyalty to the company and pride in output are critical components of Japanese culture.
Sweden – Safety first
Sweden’s automotive industry has long been synonymous with exceptional quality and safety, whether it be trucks, buses or passenger vehicles. Indeed, safety is ingrained in Swedish culture, reflected in its 250 years of peace, its stable society and its emphasis on accident prevention and worker safety regulations.
Among Sweden’s famed car manufacturers, Volvo stands out. Founders, Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, declared, “The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is, and must remain, safety.”2
The brand has been one of the key players in airbag technology with innovations like side airbags and inflatable curtains. The car seats in all of its models today are designed to absorb energy and reduce spinal injuries, with built-in whiplash protection.
And when it comes to child safety, it would be difficult to find another carmaker with such a sterling reputation. Volvo pioneered the rearward-facing child seat and dual-stage integrated booster cushion.
Germany – Engineering excellence
Perhaps no other country is as closely associated to engineering excellence than Germany. Its automotive sector is strongly associated with quality, efficiency and innovation, dating back all the way to the 19th century when Carl Benz designed the very first motor vehicle to use an internal combustion engine and electric ignition.3
Since then, Germany has become home to some of the most legendary and recognisable car brands of all time, including BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen. One reason German vehicles are so popular is that they’re designed not just to look fast, but to be able to be safely driven at high speeds. The German highway system often has no required speed limit, which allows drivers to unleash their full horsepower.
Manufacturing remains a highly respected field in the country, and the German people take pride in the craftsmanship their car brands have built a reputation for.
United States – High-tech flair
The US has always been at the forefront of innovation and technology.
It’s only to be expected that this creative, pioneering spirit extends to the country’s automotive industry. Many modern conveniences we’re used to seeing in vehicles today are American inventions, including air conditioning, power-assisted steering and cruise control.
And in recent years, the US has developed some of the most high-tech cars on the market, including the Tesla 3 Model 3 – the best-selling electric vehicle in Australia4. Boasting a 15-inch touchscreen, over-the-air software updates and an advanced driver assistance system that can help the vehicle navigate point to point on the highway, change lanes unassisted, or be summoned from a parking space to where you wait nearby.
Another tech-heavy American creation is the mid-size SUV Ford Escape, which boasts a heads-up display that projects key information into your field of vision, so you can keep your eyes on the road ahead. The Escape is also fitted with an embedded modem, allowing you to lock, unlock or even locate your vehicle, start the engine from afar, and heat or cool the cabin to the last setting.
Dare to dream?
Italy – Sporty elegance
Italians’ passion for fast and beautiful cars runs deep, reflecting an obsession with perfection, timeless elegance and exquisite quality. So, it’s no surprise that Italian car manufacturers incorporate these elements into their vehicles. Consider Alfa Romeo – its plant situated between Naples and Rome – bringing driving pleasure and head-turning attention within reach courtesy of its entry-point Sport models.
Italian sports cars are world-famous, familiar even to those who aren’t self-described auto buffs. Perhaps the best known of these is the Ferrari. Did you know that the carmaker only began manufacturing road vehicles to support its Formula One racing ventures. Now owned by Fiat, Ferrari continues the tradition of producing beautiful high-performance sports cars with models such as the F12 Berlinetta, the all-wheel drive four-seater FF and the California T.
Not to be outdone in the style stakes is Lamborghini, named after its founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini who set up his company in 1962 to produce high performance sports cars to compete against Ferrari. His company now forms part of the giant Volkswagen Group and continues to produce exclusive high-performance sports cars, including the V10 Huracan Coupe and V12 Aventador coupe and roadster.