Two new titles are fighting to fill the gap in the market for a
Japanese performance car magazine. Last week saw the launch of Unity
Media’s Banzai, following hot on the heels of CH Publications’ Japanese
Performance which went on sale at the end of October.
Interest in Japanese cars has been stimulated by the manufacturers’
successes in races such as Le Mans and the British Touring Car
This, along with the makers’ reluctance to sell performance cars in the
UK, has fuelled a booming grey market for both new and used cars
imported directly from Japan. This has made them both more available and
more affordable, creating a large circle of owner enthusiasts.
Last year’s grey market accounted for around 35,000 imports and this is
estimated to increase to 50,000 this year.
However, editorial coverage of the grey market is creating an
interesting dilemma for the ad sales teams. While it stimulates
advertising from servicing and parts suppliers, not to mention grey
importers, it is not likely to endear the magazines to the manufacturers
or their official UK dealers.
Japanese Performance’s group ad director, James Stainer, admitted that,
from an advertiser’s perspective, he was initially doubtful about the
grey market coverage. But he hopes that once manufacturers appreciate
the appeal of a niche audience of Japanese car enthusiasts, they will
’Most are handled by big agencies who like to see the product first and
take longer to make a recommendation. But we are hopeful of getting them
in soon,’ he said.
Japanese Performance has a first issue print run of 50,000 compared to
Banzai’s 60,000. Both are bi-monthly and have a cover price of pounds