The Japanese automobile industry is led by the "Big Three" of Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., which are supported by leading car parts manufacturers including Denso Corp. and Calsonic Kansei Corp.

Although Japanese automakers combined have established a dominant global position in terms of the number of cars sold, their foothold is being eroded quietly by German automotive part producers such as Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental AG.

These German companies are starting to overwhelm the Japanese auto industry in the field of autonomous driving technology, the most advanced automotive engineering field. A weak point of the Japanese car manufacturers has now cropped up: They have concentrated too heavily on engines, transmissions and other drivetrain components on the strength of their manufacturing expertise. Their closely knit keiretsu system binding carmakers and their suppliers has made them unable to pursue open innovations.