Until the introduction of the Fender Squier series, Fender had never produced lower priced guitars based on its main Stratocaster and Telecaster models and had always used different model designs for its lower priced guitars.In the late 1970s and early 1980s Fender was facing competition from lower priced Japanese made guitars.Tokai was seriously considered to start building the first Japanese made Fenders, but after a breakdown in negotiations, Fuji Gen Gakki was chosen instead.The initial Squier models were launched on July/August 1982.
The first Fender Japan models introduced in May 1982 were the 19 series, which were Fender Stratocaster models ST'57-115, ST'57-85, ST'57-65, ST'62-115, ST'62-85, ST'62-65 and the Precision Bass models PB'57-95, PB'57-70, PB'62-98, PB'62-75. It was established in 1890 by Victor Carroll Squier in Battle Creek, Michigan. By 1975, Squier became defunct as a manufacturer and a brand name for strings, as Fender opted to market its strings under the Fender brand name. Squier Company manufactured strings for violins, banjos, and guitars.Jerome Bonaparte Squier, a young English immigrant who arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the latter part of the 19th century, was a farmer and shoemaker who had learned the fine European art of violin making. Victor Squier started making his own hand-wound violin strings, and the business grew so quickly that he and his employees improvised a dramatic production increase by converting a treadle sewing machine into a string winder capable of producing 1,000 uniformly high-quality strings per day.He moved to Boston in 1881, where he built and repaired violins with his son, Victor Carroll Squier. Squier violin strings, banjo strings and guitar strings became well known nationwide and were especially popular among students because of their reasonable price. Squier Company in early 1965, shortly before Fender itself was acquired by CBS in May of the same year.Fender soon added a less expensive export Squier series based on the Fender Japan 19 series in July/August 1982, which had a large Fender logo with a smaller Squier logo and had a zinc rather than a steel tremolo block and again the Stratocasters had Fender USA pickups installed.The Squier series were also made available for the Japanese market in October 1982, which incorporated small changes compared to the export Squier series.The higher priced Fender guitars were made in the United States and could not compete with the lower prices of Japanese made Fender copies.In the early 1980s, Japanese labor and production costs were much lower than in America and to compete with the Japanese made guitars, Fender moved the lower priced Fender guitar production from America to Japan.Entry-level Affinity Series instruments were straightforward, basic Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass guitars in black, red and white. MZ: M = Mexico, Z = 2000's, the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.The Affinity Series paved the way for the subsequent great success of Squier instrument/amp/accessory packages, such as the Strat Pak and Bass Pak, that provided aspiring musicians with everything they need to enter the world of amplified music in a single all-in-one purchase. For example, CN/VN: C = Cor-Tek (Cort), V = Saehan(Sunghan), S was already taken by Samick so Saehan(Sunghan) used V instead (Saehan(Sunghan) made the Vester guitars), N = Nineties (1990s), the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.