Japan is the world's second-third now and first at 1980-1993, 2006-2008 largest automobile manufacturer and exporter, and has six of the world's ten largest automobile manufacturers. In addition to its massive automobile industry, Japan also is the home to manufacturers of other types of vehicles, like powersports vehicle manufacturers Kawasaki and Yamaha, and heavy equipment manufacturers Kubota, Komatsu, and Hitachi. It is home to some of the world's largest automotive companies such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Yamaha, Mazda, and Subaru.
Japanese zaibatsu (business conglomerates) began building their first automobiles in the middle to late 1910s. The companies went about this by either designing their own trucks (the market for passenger vehicles in Japan at the time was small), or partnering with a European brand to produce and sell their cars in Japan under license. Such examples of this are Isuzu partnering with Wolseley Motors (UK), and the Mitsubishi Model A, which was based upon the Fiat Tipo 3. The demand for domestic trucks was greatly increased by the Japanese buildup to war before World War II, and thus caused many Japanese manufacturers to break out of their shells and design their own vehicles.