Interview Preparation for Automotive Industry in Japan

Interview Prep for the Automotive Industry

This guide will walk you through the essential preparation for interviews in the automotive industry. We’ll cover everything from fundamental industry knowledge to Q&A strategies, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your interview. 

1. Automotive Industry Trends 

1. What is CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared service, Electric) ?

An Overview CASE stands for the four key elements shaping the future of the automotive industry: Connected, Autonomous, Shared Service, and Electric. Each aspect signifies: 

  • Connected: Enhancing vehicle-internet connectivity for real-time information and remote monitoring. 
  • Autonomous: Technologies enabling vehicles to operate without human intervention. 
  • Shared Service: Promoting vehicle sharing over ownership, emphasizing usage. 
  • Electric: Focusing on the proliferation of electric vehicles for improved energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. 

2. The Acceleration of Electrification

As we move towards a more sustainable future, electrification, an integral part of the CASE initiative, is pivotal for the survival and evolution of companies in Japan’s automotive industry. This shift aligns with the 2050 carbon-neutral goal, emphasizing the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy sources. 

Intensifying Competition and Emergence of New Players: The race towards electrification has intensified. New manufacturers, particularly in the electric vehicle segment, are making significant strides. Tesla, a frontrunner in this field, has gained recognition for its innovative technology and rapid market penetration. Similarly, Chinese firms like BYD and NIO are expanding their influence, both domestically and globally, challenging traditional automakers. 

Advancements in Battery Technology: A key focus area is the development of next-generation batteries, moving beyond conventional lithium-ion technology. Research into solid-state and bio-batteries is progressing, promising higher energy density and improved safety features. These advancements are anticipated to enhance the range and charging efficiency of EVs, a critical factor in consumer adoption.

Japanese Automakers’ Electrification Strategies: Japanese car manufacturers are actively adapting their strategies to stay competitive in the electrifying landscape.


Committed to a carbon-neutral vision, Toyota is planning to launch 30 new EV models by 2030. Their goal is to sell 3.5 million EVs annually, offering a comprehensive range in every segment worldwide, including fuel cell (FCEVs) and hybrid vehicles (HEVs). 


In partnership with Renault, Nissan is emphasizing EVs and connected mobility for their 2030 vision. They plan to introduce 35 EV models across 5 dedicated platforms, aiming for an 80% rate of platform sharing by 2026. 


Honda is pivoting its primary focus to EVs, targeting a 100% sales ratio of EVs and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) globally by 2040. In collaboration with Sony, they are also advancing the development of Software-Defined Vehicles (SDVs). 

(As of September 2023) 

3. MaaS (Mobility as a Service)

MaaS is emerging as a crucial trend, offering integrated services that combine public transportation with personal mobility solutions. This is particularly relevant in the context of aging populations and urban traffic congestion. 

4. Semiconductor Shortage

The automotive industry has been significantly affected by the semiconductor shortage, with several contributing factors. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to temporary closures of semiconductor factories, exacerbating the issue. Additionally, international conflicts and U.S. embargoes have further strained supply chains. The rising demand for semiconductors is driven by advancements in electrification, autonomous driving technology, and the need for improved cybersecurity. In response, the Japanese government is backing efforts to stabilize supply, and automakers are exploring various measures, including in-house production of semiconductors. 

2. Overview of the Automotive Industry  

The automotive industry is experiencing a dynamic shift, with an expanded range of participants influencing its direction. This transformation is evident in both service provision and technological innovation: 

  • Service Provision Beyond Traditional Car Manufacturers: The scope of services offered to consumers is no longer limited to car manufacturers. Dealerships and after-sales services continue to play a vital role, but now, an increasing number of automotive manufacturers and commercial entities are introducing innovative approaches like subscription models, online sales platforms, and car-sharing services. 
  • Diverse Participants in Technological Advancement: The development of key technologies such as autonomous driving, connected services, battery innovation, and safety features is no longer the sole domain of traditional manufacturers. IT and software companies are increasingly becoming integral players in these areas, contributing to the rapid evolution of automotive technology. 
Automotive Map

Japanese Car Manufacturers: Toyota/Nissan/Honda/Subaru/Matsuda/Suzuki/Daihatsu

Foreign Car Manufacturers: Mercedes-Benz Japan/Volkswagen Group Japan/BMW Japan/Volvo Japan/Stellantis Japan/Jaguar LandRover Japan/Porsch Jasssss/General Motors Japan 

Japanese Parts Manufacturers: DENSO Corporation / Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd/Hitachi Ltd. / Mitsubishi Electric Corporation / Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.

• Foreign Parts Manufacturers: Bosch Japan / Continental Japan / ZF Japan / Valeo Japan / Siemens / Magna International / Forvia, and more.

• MaaS Related: Uber / DiDi / Grab / Mitsubishi Estate Realty / Times Mobility, and more.

• IT Services: IBM / Google / Baidu / Hitachi Ltd., and more.

• AI, Semiconductors, Battery Sensors .: Mobileye / NVIDIA / HERE / CATL / Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. / Sony, and more.

• Consulting (Research): Accenture / PwC / Deloitte / EY / Baker Tilly / Abeam Consulting / JD Power, and more.

3. Researching Companies  

To excel in your interview, it’s essential to have a deep understanding of the company’s vision, values, and corporate culture. This insight not only aids in a successful interview but also helps you assess how the company aligns with your career goals. While job advertisements and official websites are useful, they often provide limited information. Broadening your research to include other sources can offer a more comprehensive view, including insights into the company’s work environment and practices that aren’t published online. 

At Turnpoint Consulting, we provide industry-specific support, from interview preparation for each company to advice on selection processes, and even valuable information from people who actually work at those companies. Please feel free to contact us. 

Discover Automotive Job Openings

4.Industry-Focused Interview Insights

1. Interviewing with Complete Car Manufacturers 

♦ Japanese Car Manufacturers 

Japanese car manufacturers play a wide range of roles in the global market. There are various job types, including sales strategy, technological development, and production strategy, all supporting and growing the company as a whole. Before the interview, it’s important to check the medium to long-term vision of each car manufacturer and understand their respective visions and strengths. Understand the differences from competitors, where they excel in the market, and the current state and future prospects of their technological development. 

♦ Foreign Car Manufacturers

For foreign car manufacturers, the most important goal is to increase sales in the Japanese market while emphasizing coordination with the global headquarters in their home country. To grow the company in the Japanese market, think about how you can contribute to the position you are applying for. It’s crucial to appeal in the interview with specific plans and ideas for strengthening coordination with the headquarters and expanding the market. 

Our industry-specialized consultants provide comprehensive support, including interview preparation. If you are considering a career change to an automotive manufacturer, please feel free to register with Turnpoint Consutling


2.Interviewing with Automotive Parts Manufacturers and Technology Development Companies

When applying to these companies, it is crucial first to understand each company’s vision and strengths. Automotive parts manufacturers and technology development companies are essential for investing in new technologies such as autonomous driving, electric vehicle battery technology, and connected services. Compared to complete car manufacturers, parts manufacturers can invest more resources in a single technology. Therefore, understand which technologies each company is focusing on and why they are emphasizing those technologies, and be prepared to explain your motivation for joining the company. 

Additionally, when applying to parts manufacturers, pay attention to the following two points: 

• Coordination and Management Skills with Complete Car Manufacturers  

In collaboration with complete car manufacturers, situations frequently arise that require schedule pressure management and coordination. How you handle and cooperate in such situations is important. Emphasize your coordination abilities and management skills. 

• Sense of Responsibility for Safety  

The safety of automobiles is extremely important, and a commitment to quality is required. Being able to appeal that you have a sense of responsibility for quality control and safety would be advantageous. 

Our industry-specialized consultants provide comprehensive support, including interview preparation. If you are considering a career change to an Automotive Parts Manufacturers and Technology Development Companies, please feel free to contact us. 

Car Part

5. Common Interview Questions in the Automotive Industry 

What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses in your work?

  • Key Point: Demonstrate self-awareness and the ability to self-evaluate. Use specific examples to explain your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Example Response: Highlight adaptability and learning ability as strengths, using a project example. Acknowledge a tendency towards perfectionism as a weakness and discuss ongoing efforts to improve time management. 
Why do you want to work for our company?

  • Key Point: Show your enthusiasm and knowledge of the company. Focus on specific aspects that attract you and align with your career goals. 
  • Preparation Tip: Understand the company’s culture, values, and unique offerings. 
How do you handle pressure and deliver results within deadlines?

  • Key Point: Illustrate your ability to manage stress and time effectively. Provide specific examples demonstrating your approach. 
  • Example Response: Describe a strategy involving task prioritization, stress management, and team collaboration, using a real project scenario. 
Can you share an experience where you were required to troubleshoot and solve a challenging problem?

  • Key Point: Showcase problem-solving skills and initiative. Detail the process from problem identification to resolution. 
  • Example Approach: Select a specific problem, explain your perception, detail your actions and approach, discuss the outcomes, and reflect on learning and improvement opportunities. 
What are your goals and aspirations upon joining our company?

  • Key Point: Express your career aspirations and how you plan to contribute to the company. 
  • Example Response: For a cybersecurity sales position, discuss enhancing the company’s cybersecurity impact and aspiring towards a managerial role to lead innovative projects. 
What are your perspectives on electric vehicles (EVs)?

  • Key Point: Demonstrate awareness of industry trends and an informed opinion on EVs. 
  • Example Response: Discuss the challenges and potential of EVs, emphasizing the importance of sustainable practices and the future role of EVs in the industry. 
Is your response compelling?

Our consultants, who are familiar with the companies we introduce, provide personalized advice on interview questions and responses (Free of charge). Don’t hesitate to consult with us for tailored guidance.” 

Discover Automotive Job Openings

6.Final Remarks

The automotive industry is experiencing a once-in-a-century transformation, marked by the entry of various new players and a shift in the traditional business model. This change is not only reshaping the industry’s structure but also influencing the nature of job interviews within this sector. 

Recently, there’s been a notable increase in candidates from diverse industries entering the automotive field. This trend underscores the need for applicants to understand the broader dynamics of the automotive industry, including how different players are adapting to changing lifestyles and service demands. 

Crucial to interview success is your ability to articulate clearly how your experience and skills align with the company’s direction. A good skill match is vital, but it’s equally important to communicate this effectively during an interview. Preparation is key – it’s essential to articulate your value proposition to potential employers convincingly. 

At Turnpoint Consulting, we provide comprehensive, company-specific support. This includes guidance on handling interviews, understanding the interviewers, and tackling specific questions. We encourage you to reach out to us for personalized assistance tailored to your career aspirations within the automotive industry. 

Supervised by the Turnpoint Consulting Media Team(Editing: Shintaro Kondo)
We are a recruitment firm dedicated to providing valuable information about career transitions in the automotive and mobility industry. For those considering a career change, we offer insights into the job market and strategies for navigating the recruitment process within the automotive and mobility sector. For companies looking to hire professionals in this industry, we aim to provide insights into the talent landscape, to understand your hiring needs and to attract talent to work for your firm.