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Read the rich and storied history of Anikatia’s best known automobile manufacturer.
Anikatia a small nation within East Asia with close historical links to China, and Korea. In 1932, the Maesim Industrial Company was established by Mae Young-ho and Sim Dong-hyun. It was primarily a steel parts and bicycle manufacturer. By 1934 it began assembling cars in cooperation with Ford Motor Company and later established technical cooperation; it was the first automaker in Anikatia that was equipped with modern assembly facilities. It officially changes it name to Maesima Motor Corporation in 1936. However, the company was then merely automotive assemblers, importing parts from overseas partners.
After the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War led to the shutdown and retooling of factories for military use by the Japanese who had fully annexed Anikatia along with Korea in 1910. Maesima facilities were redirected to produced weapons for the Japanese military war effort throughout the Second World War. During this period the factories suffered damage from Allied bombing raids.
By 1945 the bulk of the Japanese forces retreated to the mainland leaving Anikatia very lightly defended as Allied forces prepare for the final defeat of the Japan. Allied forces liberate Anikatia in late 1945 and face limited resistance. However, bitter rivalries start up between royalist rebels who supported Japanese rule and socialist rebels who opposed and fought against Japanese rule as Allied troops withdrew in 1948. A limited but brutal civil war breaks out and by 1950 communist forces prevail. As the Korean War breaks out Anikatia introduces a Soviet style communist government. The Soviet Union, North Korea and China proclaim support for the new regime and rush to supply the new socialist state. By 1951 the newly established Democratic Socialist Republic of Anikatia is declared. All private enterprises are nationalised including Maesima Motors. Ford pulls out all foreign investment and assistance from the company. The new DSRA is able to survive fierce assault by UN forces because of Chinese and Soviet support and much weaker opposition. The government took action to resolve this difficult situation by implementing the “Automobile Industry Restoration Policy”, the objective of which was to prevent excessive competition between the major domestic automakers. Additionally, the government postponed and limited foreign imports in response to sanctions and blockages from the Free World.
This was a period of rapid growth and development for Maesima and the Anikatian automotive industry as a whole. Due to the very poor state of the nation’s roads following a world war and civil war, auto production was fairly limited, and most production consisted of trucks and off-road vehicles. Maesima like all Anikatian brands received technical assistance from the Soviet Union and was told to follow the Soviet model of rapid large-scale industrialisation. By 1960 Maesima had produced its first fully domestic vehicle the NT-859 light commercial vehicle. Exports were very limited in the 1960s, but by the 1970s exports of passenger cars began to increase substantially compared to the previous decade. While localisation of auto parts was the major concern during the 1960s, developing a mass production system for the export-oriented industry became the issue during the 1970s. Maesima releases its first car the NV-965 in 1965 as domestic demand begins to increase. This was followed by an expansion into foreign markets by the 1970s which further accelerated growth. Although exports during this were primarily within Warsaw Pact countries and allies of the Soviet Union.
Initially on the international market, Maesima vehicles were successful due largely because of their low price and relative reliability. But with this early success in the export market, Maesima had to place greater effort to produce models, designed fully in-house and manufactured with its own technology, as establishment of a Socialist government had led to a great loss of much foreign investment and assistance that was only partially recovered from assistance and markets of members of the Warsaw Pact and few allies of the Soviet Union nations such as India that continued trade and assistance. The Sino-Soviet split led to a difficult situation for the DSRA as they had to choose which major power to align with and ultimately they decided to align with China and open up to the West.
While exports remained low in the Free World, Maesima found some success in non-aligned and third world markets. But all this was to change as the DSRA followed the Chinese model of Market orientated reforms to the socialist system. Huge reforms were undertaken to liberalise and restructure the economy of the DSRA in 1979 by General Secretary Choi Kyu-sik. This effectively opened the Anikatian market to foreign investment and allowed Maesima to achieve a greater degree of exposure. However, it was quickly discovered that the local vehicles were often not to the standards of quality required in Western markets. While they were somewhat lacking in most luxuries expected in Western-made cars of its era they were still very engaging to drive and were instead sold as ‘no-frills’ budget vehicles in several Western nations during the 1980s and 1990s. Nonetheless, this did hurt the Maesima brand somewhat giving it a poor reputation internationally which it has worked very hard to overcome.
The socialist government’s efforts to bring costs down for ownership, quality and reliability of vehicles was the key problem.By late 1980s this caught up with the poor reputation Maesima vehicles, sales dropped drastically, and car dealerships started abandoning their franchises. By this time the Soviet Union effectively ceased to exist in 1991 and the Cold War was over with and Warsaw Pact dissolved and Communism on the losing side. The DSRA government while still socialist in name realising this and pursues market liberalisation at and even greater rate allowing greater private ownership and more foreign investment along with the creation of stock markets. This drove strong growth for the country and helped further investment into quality for the Maesima brand.
But by 1997 the Asian Financial Crisis hit and while the DSRA was initially able to keep itself above the fray it was forced to devalue its currency in 1998 to protect its competitiveness with the ASEAN nations. Unlike China, the DSRA had made its currency fully convertible only a few years prior to the Crisis. The Anikuro currency devalued swiftly and lost more than half its value.
As the crisis intensified in the following months when the effects of the devaluation showed up on corporate balance sheets for Maesima. Which had to borrow in foreign currency had to face the higher costs imposed upon them by the Anikuro’s decline and many other firms reacted by buying foreign currency through selling Anikuros, undermining the value of the latter further.
The leader of the DSRA sacked the Governor of the Central Bank of Anikatia, but this proved insufficient. The DSRA’s booming economy came to a halt. The banking sector was burdened with non-performing loans as its large public corporations had been funding aggressive expansions. During that time, there was desire to build great conglomerates to compete on the world stage. Many businesses ultimately failed to ensure returns and profitability. The government simply absorbed more and more capital investment and continued to support these firms, while inflation and welfare costs grew considerably. Eventually, excess debt led to major failures and takeovers and the government was forced to take emergency international loans from the IMF.
By late 2001 under huge public pressure and after weeks of violence and rioting in the streets the leader of the DSRA was forced to resign, signalling the end of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Anikatia. Major democratic reforms were undertaken which saw the DSRA replaced with the Republic of Anikatia which quickly accepted emergency international loans from IMF. While Maesima was able to avoid bankruptcy finally achieved full private ownership again.
However, the nation successfully transitioned towards a mixed market economy and with the help of IMF loans, which assisted in the restructure of the automotive industry to make it more competitive in the international export markets. As investment poured into the nation and markets opened, Maesima continued to invest heavily in the quality, design, manufacturing, and long-term research of their vehicles. This effort paid dividends for the brand and by the late 2000s, it had achieved very high ratings on the J.D. Power and Associates initial brand quality rankings and export sales begun to recover substantially reflecting this new changes. Today Maesima has taken its position as a producer of quality vehicles in the international market.