It's regional here in the states too. The south west has a relatively cheap used car market because sh!t don't rust. Tons of cars of perfectly usable cars make their way to the crusher because most people can't fix their own stuff and won't pay the ~$50-150/hr labor extortion rates to fix 'em.
Originally Posted by FormulaTwo
I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
This is off topic, but in response to 88HF's comment. While you are right that Japanese cars have very short usable lifetimes, leading to their being parted out and sold to various parts of the world, your reason as to WHY this happens is incorrect.
Japan has a very complex system that controls their car market. Simply put, the average populace knows nothing about cars. I mean NOTHING. They couldn't put in wiper washer fluid to save their life. This is thanks to overbearing government regulations. They have a system called shaken. It is a bi-yearly (you get three years if you buy a new car) car-check that makes sure that your car is in running order and that it meets all safety specifications. It is complicated by things like vehicle weight, fuel used, displacement, and a plethora of other things. When you hit a snag (for example, your ceiling liner starts to sag) you can be in for HUGE amounts of money to fix it up. Something as small as a tear or cigarette hole in your seat can make you fail shaken. You must fix it to continue driving your car. When you get enough of these problems, people say screw it and just buy another car. For an average size vehicle, with low miles (in Japan terms, this means 40,000 or less), and NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER, you can expect to pay about $800 to pass shaken, which is due every two years.
Now you also have something called jidousha zei, or automobile tax. This is due every year. Expect to pay around $300-$400 for this baby. There is also mandatory insurance, though I am not sure what it is for, as it is worthless if you get in an accident (your fault OR the other's fault). This is less than $200 a year. Many people buy optional insurance to supplement this worthless "mandatory insurance." Prices on this varie wildly depending on who you go through. My fiance pays about $400 per year for hers, as it is through the government, being that her dad is a police officer. If you go private, expect to shell out around $800 a year for run of the mill optional insurance.
Add all of these things up (and some other costs that I am sure that I forgot to mention) and you end up paying A LOT of money to drive a car in Japan. All of these factors influence Japanese consumers and lead them to go hook line and sinker to 1800 mile interval oil changes, and 50,000 mile average car life expectencies.
Perhaps that is why my fiance's father told me that the 90,000 mile eight year old Prius that I was looking at was garbage and ready to be scrapped. Haha...
Good explanation of shaken. Japanese consumers think a car is worth 0 yen after 7 years. I knew some Aussies and middle easterners who exported cars from Japan. They would take a really nice Japanese car with about 20,00 miles on it, get it for a few thousand dollars, and then ship it overseas to a place where they drive on the right side of the car, left side of the road. They were all high school dropouts, but they were all millionaires.
When I came back from Japan, I knew absolutely nothing about car maintenance. Unless you're a mechanic and you work on your own car, you just don't touch a wrench over there.
Then we get into concepts of Shinto and how they think new things are better. It's less to do with status and more to do with objects carrying the [energy] of previous owners. Some might call it ki, but the more eccentric call it hadou 波動 【はどう】. Simply put, they don't want somebody else's cooties.