Cars built in Japan before WWII tended to be based on European or American models.
In 1925 the Ford Motor Company of Japan began manufacturing in Yokohama. In 1927 General Motors and Chrysler also established operations in Japan. From 1925-36, these three American automobile manufacturers produced 208,967 vehicles (domestic Japanese production = 12,127).
The Japanese Automobile Manufacturing Industry Law of 1936 was intended to promote domestic automobile production by reducing foreign competition. However, closing the Yokohama Ford plant prevented Japan from becoming a major automobile exporter.
By 1939, all foreign manufacturers had been forced out of Japan and vehicle production was shifted to trucks for use in the Second Sino-Japanese War.