Until recently, no American brand has managed to land a place among the 10 Best Cars in Japan. That is until the Jeep Cherokee was named as one of the 10 Best Cars for 2014-2015 – a first among US brands and nameplates.
Jeep’s barging into the 10 Best Cars rankings in Japan – considered as the country’s prestigious auto honor – could be an indication that the nation is opening, albeit a little, to foreign carmakers. While European brands and nameplates have already managed to break into the list, only one – the Volkswagen Golf-- grabbed a place in the previous edition.
According to one judge for this year’s ranking, the Mercedes-Benz C class almost made the list, but it was narrowly beaten by the redesigned Mazda2 compact. In case a foreign car does not claim a place in the ranking, the judging committee creates a special import Car of the Year Award, which was grabbed by the C class this year.
Other foreign cars inching their way into the 10 Best this year were the Peugeot 308 and the BMW i3. Jeep commenced selling the redesigned Cherokee in Japan in May. So far, the model is boosting the brand’s chances of posting its fifth consecutive year of sales growth in the country.
Jeep saw its sales in the country surge 33 percent to 3,188 units in the first half of Japan’s fiscal year, covering the months of April to September.