Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus And Honda?

Japan's carmakers aim to boost sales with a racier image

Hidehisa Hirata has the speed bug. The 25-year-old Tokyoite saved $800 working for three months at a local bar and is blowing it all on a weekend course in race-car driving offered by Honda Motor Co. Now, Hirata is throwing a 1.3-liter Honda Logo subcompact into the curves at nearly 160 km per hour. To Hirata, the modest machine matters not at all. "I like cars," he says simply.

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