Automobile Gallery

Automobile Gallery 3F

The Advancement and Diversification of Motorization

ZONE 9-13
From the 1950s to the present

The five exhibition zones on this floor follow the progress and challenges of the worldwide auto industry from the 1950s to the present day.


Re-ignition of American,
European, and
Japanese Car Industries

Re-ignition of American, European, and Japanese Car Industries

American cars grew larger, European cars made "compact" attractive became more compact, and Japanese cars searched for a way forward

The vehicles from U.S. manufacturers grew larger and larger as they sought to provide greater comfort and luxury, but at the same time compact-size European cars were a hit in the U.S. car market. In Japan, the level of automotive technology at the automobile manufacturers lagged behind that of those overseas and efforts to catch up were critical to their survival. Some Japanese manufacturers actively introduced the U.S. and European technologies directly into their vehicles, while others chose the more difficult path of committing to their own original technological innovations. These decisions laid the foundations for the changes that would occur in the automobile industry in the years that followed.

Re-ignition of American, European, and Japanese Car Industries

Economic Growth &
Expansion of Motorization

Economic Growth & Expansion of Motorization

The popularization of passenger cars in Japan

As the standard of living improved in Japan,many more people were able to purchase the so-called "three essential status symbols" : a black and white TV, a washing machine, and a refrigerator, and this in turn led to the accelerated growth of the Japanese economy. The time when it was a realistic possibility for the average citizen to own an automobile had finally arrived.

Dream Cars: Demanding better cars

Many consumers around the world started to demand luxury automobiles and vehicles with higher levels of performance and more stylish designs, which led to the release of vehicles in the U.S. that were major hits. In Japan as well, the manufacturers were quick to seize on this trend and announced sportier vehicles, while also promoting the development of their own unique technological innovations.

Economic Growth & Expansion of Motorization Economic Growth & Expansion of Motorization

A Trying Time /
Surfacing of social issues

A Trying Time: Surfacing of social issues

Acceleration of introducing with the environmental technologies and the safety technologies

The increasing popularity and wide use of automobiles created new social issues, such as traffic accidents and air pollution. The citizens in many countries demanded reforms and this resulted in new laws and regulations. It was certainly a trying time for the automobile manufacturers, but it was also a critical turning point when the development of environmental and safety technologies made rapid progress.

A Trying Time: Surfacing of social issues

The Birth of
New Vehicle Types

The Birth of New Vehicle Types

The creation of new automobile categories to meet a variety of consumer needs

New vehicle models, such as minivans and crossover SUVs, began to appear and replaced conventional sedans in an effort to keep pace with the growing diversification of consumer lifestyles. At the same time, Japanese automobile manufacturers also began to expand their presence overseas. Greater emphasis was placed on developing vehicle models that were tailored to their destination markets and local production was promoted as the age of globalization made rapid progress.

The Birth of New Vehicle Types

Toward a Sustainable Future

Toward a Sustainable Future

The diversification of power sources again

In the 1990s there was growing awareness of environmental issues, such as global warming, from a truly global perspective and the arrival of hybrid vehicles that had only half of the CO2 exhaust emissions of conventional vehicles was the start of a new era in which the environmental-friendliness of a vehicle became a large part of its appeal. The popularization and wide acceptance of hybrid vehicles helped to accelerate the development of other technologies for electric and fuel cell vehicles so that they too may one day go into practical use.

Toward a Sustainable Future