What Does JDM Car Mean?

Every car enthusiast comes across different car-related terms, including JDM, which is continuously rising in popularity. So what’s JDM and what can it offer to car owners and importers? Let’s take a closer look at JDM cars and engines. 

What is JDM? 

As the name implies, Japanese domestic market, also known as JDM, is a Japan-based car market that houses cars and vehicular parts that were designed and engineered to follow the road regulations in Japan. 

However, not because a vehicle has Japanese origins, it can already be considered a JDM car. Contrary to popular belief, JDM cars are different from Japanese cars designed for exportation. The purpose of every car greatly impacts design, aesthetics and performance. 

Road Rules in Japan 

It is no secret that Japan enforces strict road rules. For one, all Japanese vehicles must pass a motor vehicle inspection known as “Sha-ken,” which basically examines a vehicle for road-worthiness. Sha-ken is an expensive vehicular inspection that gets pricier as the car ages, costing up to more than 100,000 yen for older car models and makes.  

Additionally, common car repairs can also be very expensive in the country since mechanics need to meet the high standards set by Sha-ken. Because of this, most Japanese cars last only around 2 to 3 years on the road.  Vehicles on American roads, by comparison, travel at an average of up to 10.8 years. 

Also, the average annual distance traveled by Japanese cars is only at 9,300 kilometers, which is significantly lower than that of American cars that travel approximately 19,100 kilometers per year. 

The Correlation between Sha-Ken and JDM engines

Most Japanese manufacturers live by one golden rule: to place an emphasis on innovation than long-term use. The strict regulations set by Sha-ken opened a new industry—an industry that focuses mainly on re-using and recycling different vehicular parts of Japanese vehicles, which are typically low in mileage. 

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