By on June 23, 2013
Ford Setagaya Dori

Open: The Ford dealer down the road from me. Go there yourself.

Last week, I had a few very interesting discussions with a few very famous people, and I should not keep them to myself. The discussions were about one of my pet peeves, the supposedly closed Japanese car market, and the allegedly manipulated Japanese currency. Some very knowledgeable people I talked to were convinced it’s true. Other very knowledgeable folks said it’s utter baloney. In a rare display of balanced reporting, I will bring you both. And as they say, we purport, you decide.

Ford Yahara Service

Open: Service entrance of Ford in Yahara. Go there yourself.

On Friday, I was berated by famous author Eamonn Fingleton.  We have a lot in common. He is only slightly older than me, he has the same affliction for Japanese women, and he lived in Japan probably longer than I did. He became famous for his 1995 book titled “Blindside: Why Japan Is Still on Track to Overtake the U.S. By the Year 2000.” Ooops, did not happen. And most likely never will. Didn’t matter, the book sold well.

Fingleton said he had “some complaints from my readers about your coverage of U.S. – Japan,” which I could not find, but maybe my Google is different from his. Let’s stipulate that some did complain. Even some TTAC readers frequently do. Fingleton called me and lambasted me for hours on end, and for saying that the Japanese market is wide open, and that the yen is still obscenely expensive.

Fingleton thinks the yen should get even pricier, an opinion I would share if my Japanese wife would import luxury goods to Japan. Wikipedia says Fingleton’s wife Yasuko Amako is in that business. (I am only intruding in Fingleton’s family life, because on Skype, he doubted that TTAC can pay a decent wage, and that I must make my money elsewhere. Well, the money truly is quite indecent – especially when converted from dollar to yen, my bank laughs at Fingleton and Ford, and won’t give me more yen for the buck. And sadly, no check from elsewhere. Traditionally, TTAC is a gentleman’s sport, it’s been that since Farago founded it.)

Ford Yahara Main

Open: Ford in Yahara. The typical Toyota dealer would be much smaller. Go there yourself.

As far as cars go, Fingleton flogged the old tired horse: Import sales in Japan low, ergo the market must be closed. I did not impress Fingleton with my answer that short of forcing Japanese customers at gunpoint to buy a Chevy, I see no prospects of drastically elevated imports to Japan.

Fingleton then said  “Isn’t it odd that Renault doesn’t sell cars in Japan?”  I said that would indeed be odd, because last time I looked, they did, about as many or as few as Ford. Asked why that would be the case, I professed ignorance and recommended to call Renault. “They aren’t talking to me,” Fingleton whined. I suggested to call Volkswagen, they are Japan’s biggest importer, despite suggestions that the market is closed. “They aren’t telling me anything either,” Fingleton cried. I am just a lowly blogger, but  a good journalist simply keeps asking. I received the answer from Volkswagen  in Tokyo that “no, Japan is not a closed market.”

Like all closed market propagandists, Fingleton cannot deliver evidence of a closed market. Failure to grab more market share by foreign makers appears to be enough cause for the noted author and columnist to render a guilty verdict. I would not want him on my jury, should I ever be in court. He’d render me guilty for spousal murder while my wife is off to the 7-11: “She’s not here. That should be proof enough.”

Chrysler Kan-Pachi

Open: Chrysler Kan-pachi. Go there yourself.

Nobody has found hard evidence for Japan closing its markets to Japanese cars, or to manipulate their yen.  With billions at stake, and with the Detroit carmakers having employed hordes of lobbyists and supposed think tanks, by now evidence should be found – if it only would be there.  But as long as there are people like Fingleton, Ford, and Forbes, facts don’t matter.  Don’t look at currency charts and car showrooms  though, that would only confuse you.

Nonetheless, I felt honored that such a famous author spent some 2 hours of his precious time to berate me, halfway around the world from Ireland to Tokyo, courtesy of (a little scratchy) Skype.

Fingleton is a great writer, especially when he writes about juicier topics. He knows a lot about current accounts and imbalances of trade, when it comes to cars, I would ask someone else. He was stumped when I mentioned the Chicken Tax. Nonetheless, we will probably hear more from Fingleton on the topic, it will be fun. Beating up Forbes beats battling with Carsqua.

At Forbes, Fingleton is one of the “about 1,000 unpaid and paid contributors from all walks of life,” who fill the Forbes blog with cheap (or mostly free) content. Fingleton also is in good company. The Forbes blog is home to one of our very dear friends, noted China expert and revered forecaster Gordon Chang.

Fingleton and Chang work the “doomsday forecasts that never happen” beat. Whereas Fingleton focuses on Japan, Chang focuses on China. In 2001, a year after the U.S. was not overtaken by Japan, ignoring Fingleton’s best-selling predictions, Gordon Chang published a book titled “The Coming Collapse of China.” In it, he predicted that China would implode by 2006, if not earlier, due to non-performing loans. Instead, non-performing house flippers in America caused a near-collapse of the American, and then of the world’s banking systems, and led to carmageddon.

In another book, Chang predicted that North Korea would rain nuclear missiles on Japan. As far as I can tell from Tokyo, that didn’t happen either. Nonetheless, I recommend Chang’s pieces – as a contrarian indicator. If you don’t do what he recommends, and if you bet on things Chang hates, you probably have one of the best investment advisers. Fingleton is one of those contrarians. In his book “In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony,” he predicted that China would not implode, but overtake America, now that Japan did not. We’ll see how this prediction pans out.

chevrolet mitsuoka

Half open: Need Chevy service? Go there yourself.

Oh, and of course Forbes is also home to Bob Lutz.

The other gentleman I met last week also is of a similar age, and he is also married to a Japanese. As a former executive of MITI who now works at a Japanese car company, he knows the topic intimately. The talk was on deep background, I wish it wasn’t, he is a witty, outspoken and funny gentleman. When asked about the shrill rhetoric about manipulated currencies and closed markets, a lack of evidence notwithstanding, off-the-record-san smiled and said that this has been going on since  the 1980’s, and the tune has not changed. It’s a Good Thing - by the Fine Young Cannibals.

Since the disco era, Japan dropped their car import taxes to zero, it lets in foreign cars with a minimum of paperwork. In the early eighties, a dollar bought some 250 yen, today, it buys 98. All the while people, from Fingleton to Ford, keep claiming that the yen is undervalued and that the Japanese car market is closed. They do that until they are blue in their faces. It’s obsessive-compulsive behavior, and, such is the impression I received from my deep background chat partner, it is useless to argue with the patient.

When asked about what the Japanese side has to say to the broken record , the gentleman basically asked what else would there be to say.

After talking to a few high-ranking executives at Japanese carmakers, I get the impression that the more the U.S. side gets worked up about the issue, the more sanguine the Japanese side gets.  Trade pact or not, they don’t really care.

Most of their North American sales are cars made in North America. Honda estimates it will become a “net exporter” of automobiles from North America by 2014. Toyota expects to export more vehicles from North American plants than the Detroit 3 automakers, and foresees a future where all Toyota cars sold in U.S .may eventually be built here. Even the prospect of a falling chicken tax does not excite them. First, they think it will never happen. Second, they privately think imported Japanese pickups will see similar sales in the U.S. as imported Thunderbirds in Japan.

Ford Tama

Open: Ford in Tama. Go there yourself.

From the Japanese perspective, this looks like a trade war where only one side shows up to fight. The dogs are barking up trees that long have been turned into newsprint. Even that isn’t doing so well anymore.

Since rational arguments don’t seem to do it, I invite you on a tour of showrooms for American car brands in Japan. Through the miracles of Google Streetview, you can visit Tokyo stores of Detroit iron in the privacy of your laptop.

You will have to take my word for it that the stores are open, not closed. You will not get arrested when you go inside a Japanese showroom to buy an F-150 SuperCrew Cab, or a Camaro. They don’t have a shortage of cars. From the pictures and the stats, the only shortage there is seems to be that of customers.

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163 Comments on “Eamonn Fingleton Mad At TTAC, Says Japanese Car Market IS Closed, Yen IS Manipulated. Google Streetview MUST Be Wrong...”


  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Bertel Schmitt,
    I sounds like you know people who are like some believers in a”Flat Earth” and “Man did not land on the Moon”. I would find “friends” like that very frustrating.
    Strangely a lot of Europeans are not interested in US vehicles, does that make them “Unamerican”? Myopic opinions like the above, are what causes antagonism amongst Nations.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Let’s see the EU drop ridiculous import taxes of 10 to 22% and we’ll see what they’re interested in. You are not their spokesman.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Oh well the UAW has spoken, it does not take long to get a “mouthpiece” to spruik the party line. It is Japan not Europe referred to in the article ,by the way.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Right. And who was it that brought up EUROPE?

          “Strangely a lot of European blah, blah, blah..”

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Denvermike,
            The UAW must be scraping the barrel for someone to market on this site, but YOU DID.
            “Let’s see THE EU DROP ridiculous import taxes of 10 to 22% and we’ll see what they’re interested in”

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      How about an article about Hyundai and Kia withdrawing from the allegedly open Japanese market.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        Just like Suzuki withdrew from the open American market?

        Doesn’t make sense to sell where you don’t sell. Until recently, Hyundai has not had a product mix that could take on the Japanese head-to-head.

        Their new cars are finally getting there. Give it another half-generation and they may return to Japan, but unless they have something as good as the Up! (the near-Kei sized Eon just won’t cut it in Japan. Too crude), they will struggle for volume.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          The Koreans are one of the strongest exporters out there. Hyundai and Kia have made huge inroads everywhere EXCEPT Japan. Hyundai and Kia make very strong small cars like the Veloster and Soul. Why they don’t sell there would be an interesting article.

          Japan is a one way mercantilist nation like we used to be in our glory days.

          Suzuki is weak almost everywhere.

          BTW the Fords at the Japanese Ford dealership are 3 years old or used.

          • 0 avatar
            Ron

            One reason why Korean cars don’t sell well is that the Japanese hate anything Korean.

            I remember one time I was visiting Nissan at its Ginza headquarters and a manager asked where I was having dinner. I mentioned a Korean BBQ place near Ueno. He said he didn’t think that there were any Korean restaurants in Tokyo. A few minutes later, after his colleagues had left, he caught up with me near the elevator and sheepishly said it was his favorite Korean restaurant.

      • 0 avatar
        ccode81

        Bertel, thanks for keeping focus on this subject.

        For Korean makes thing, I think I have to disclose the back ground now as it been repeatedly used for pointless prove about closed market myth.
        I know what I write is full of discriminations, but this is the general thing going on in this island as fact.

        General speaking, Japanese don’t like Koreans, mainly because they don’t like us for whatever reason, obviously we don’t want to give a penny to them – this might be easy to understand.

        Other thing is there is certain percentage of Koreans living here as minority called ‘Zainichi’ (means living in Japan in direct translation, but this does not apply to people from other nations than north and south Korean). They claim they forced to come to Japan before 1945 as work force. Although ma in part escaped the peninsula during Korean War.
        As part of after war compensation, Japanese government gives them special permission to live here as long as they want without getting Japanese nationality and some allowance to support their daily life still 68 years after war. We don’t know why they remain when it is currently absolutely free to return home nor getting Japanese citizenship.
        OK, we have discrimination, in general they are hard to get jobs in corporates. their main business beside of running Korean BBQ restaurants, massage parlors, cab companies are, some un welcomed citizenship activities. well known are running the grey zone gamble pachinko – pin ball- parlor, or involve to sex service industry.
        Government also allow them to use names which sounds like Japanese. It could be used for whatever from opening bank account to register ownership to properties. It is simply hard to recognize them from ordinary Japanese in normal life.

        Taking these all in account, in general, we don’t want our neighbors to suspect ourselves at any chance ‘that guy might be Korean’
        Although even Japan living Koreans didn’t bought Hyundai at all, most people thinks been seen driving Hyundai is the biggest risk to be miss recognized about own origin.

        Sorry again we are the people full of discrimination, un open minded, but this is the mind of majority and the reason Hyundai sold less cars than Ferraris.

        I just posted this to separate Hyundai sales issue from closed market talks.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          You are overstating the antagonism toward Koreans.

          Korean drama is incredibly popular in Japan. So the idea that they don’t like Koreans is suspect. Moreover Korean men are very popular with Japanese women.

          The Japanese see no reason to buy from a rival – especially one with popular men haha.

          Incidently I have heard that Koreans consider Japanese lazy. So it goes both ways.. Its like New York vs. Boston..

          So yeah the Japanese market is not ‘closed’ by tariff barriers. Its closed by taste. Kinda how the US market used to be till the big 3 started making smog choked garbage in the late 70, 80s and early 90s.

          Nowadays the market in the US is closed by taste – to the BIG 3. So many people would never consider buying an American car. I guess 30 years of crap will do that.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            “Korean drama is incredibly popular in Japan.”

            Rap is incredibly popular here.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            Korean TV dramas are a very interesting topic. I remember reading a few years ago that the CIA did an analysis on Korean TV dramas and speculated (with or without evidence?) that it was entirely paid for by the South Korean government as a form of cultural blitzkrieg in order to help sell more S. Korean products (Samsung/LG/Hyundai, etc.). Never have another nation’s popular entertainment other than America’s been so pervasive in its penetration of so many nations. There are people in Russia, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China who could verbatim recite entire Korean dialogues from these TV dramas (though they may not know what it means precisely). The fandom level for these things probably dwarf Harry Potter on a global scale.

          • 0 avatar
            ccode81

            Thanks, you’ve got my point by saying
            “So yeah the Japanese market is not ‘closed’ by tariff barriers. Its closed by taste.”
            Try bashing Korean more will just spoil the main topic here.
            Let’s talk about it some time on other day.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Bill, yo’ve said this before and I asked you then a question which you didn’t answer. I will ask it again. Between 2001 (when Hyundai entered the Japanese market) and 2009 (when they left), what car did they sell in Japan which were competitive with Japanese equivalents?

        as

    • 0 avatar
      challenger2012

      Before criticizing someone as a flat earther without knowing the facts, read Eamonn’s Articles Detroit’s Collapse: The untold Story and another article “Japan’s Bad Trade” before passing judgment. I also like the sleight of hand card trick by Mr. Schmitt to divert attention such as the Chicken Tax. The chicken tax has nothing to do with why no foreign auto maker builds in Japan. The topic is the closed auto market in Japan. No one argues that cars cannot be imported into Japan. The question is why, universally, no foreign car maker builds in Japan? Why not a single car maker not VW, MB, BMW, Audi, Fiat, GM, Ford, Renault, Citoren etc. Why have all of these car makers come to the same conclusion that building in Japan is not feasible? And if there were true journalist here at TTAC, rather than talking to each other or allowing amateurs like myself to spout off, why not contact the captains in the auto industry for their input? Then you would leave the biased shills out of the discussion. How about some interviews with the Big Dogs in Europe, Italy, USA etc? I am sure they would be more than willing to talk. Then we would have the truth for everyone to see.

      • 0 avatar
        ccode81

        What is the point to newly start build cars in one of the most costly place on the planet ?
        Do you think that will drag popularity to the consumers? quite wrong as here buying foreign marque is more about trying a taste of something exotic.
        And again and again it has to be mentioned, buying existing company is much cheaper than starting from scratch, and in reality it has been tried. We’ve welcomed the investment.
        Ford-Mazda, GM-Subaru/Suzuki/Isuzu, Chrysler-Mitsubishi, Daimler-Mitsubishi each time they get short of cash, someone in HQ decides to sell the promising business just to add some additional profit on earnings, very short eyesight, I would say.
        Renault is doing a very good job for 15 years with Nissan and we don’t see that will end anytime soon.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @challenger2012
        ” The question is why, universally, no foreign car maker builds in Japan? Why not a single car maker not VW, MB, BMW, Audi, Fiat, GM, Ford, Renault, Citoren etc. ”
        This has been stated before. Wonder why the Japanese have been setting up factories outside Japan to feed the Global Market? They are building Camry’s, Corollas etc in a lot of Markets.
        i.e In March 2012: Suzuki Swift (Third Generation), a new age of eco-car, begins production in a new factory based in Rayong province, Thailand which Suzuki invested 20 billion yen in 2009 targeting its compact car production.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Have a look at the support the Japanese government gives to its own indigenous manufacturers. Then look and see how much support goes to the foreign manufacturers. How can a foreign manufacturer compete with the local manufacturers when they aren’t entitled to nothing.

        China is similar, start up a business in China without a Chinese partner.

        It’s called corporate welfare. All countries have some form or another of corporate welfare. It’s just different in the US or Europe.

        Protectionism has to be removed from the developed world. Unions have to liberalise the workplace. If we don’t then the developing world will overtake us, at our expense and a reduced standard of living.

  • avatar
    wsn

    “Isn’t it odd that Renault doesn’t sell cars in Japan?”

    I think the best reply would be “Isn’t it odd that Renault doesn’t sell cars in the US too?”

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Or you cannot sell Renault Trucks(Different owner, but were part of Renault) in the US as well?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        What makes you think they “cannot”?

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          Is that an Official UAW reply? The UAW maintain there are no barriers in the US, only foreign countries do have trade barriers.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            What’s the official troll response to a fair UAW question?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Denvermike
            At long last admitting the obvious you are a UAW troll.
            “What’s the official troll response to a FAIR UAW question?”

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I’ve never once commented on a UAW topic, because I don’t know the 1st thing. If you have a UAW question, ask Mikey. The question here is fair, regardless of where it’s coming from. Answer it or quit.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Denvermike,
            Everyone knows you are a Union troll, I have nothing against the UAW, but the article is referencing JAPAN not EUROPE the UAW’s favourite whipping boy.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If by “everyone” you mean BAFO, then you have a point…

            Name a 1st world country or continent that has lower/easier tariffs/barriers than the US.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Excuse me “RobertRyan” but I would hardly call “DenverMike” a UAW troll.

          • 0 avatar
            Brian P

            US safety and emission standards that differ from UN-ECE are a pretty substantial entry barrier to a company that does not currently sell to the North American market …

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            UNECE standards were carefully crafted as barriers against US autos. The DOT and EPA came before UNECE standard and they ‘zig’ everywhere the DOT & EPA ‘zag’. Not that the 10-22.5% tariff on US autos/trucks aren’t enough of a barrier………..

          • 0 avatar
            OliverTwist

            Excuuuuuse me, DenverMike! You said DOT and EPA (created in 1966 and 1970 respectively) came before UN-ECE?

            Well, you’re totally wrong and totally off the track here. ECE was established in 1952, and the signatory member countries started joining ECE in 1958. ECE became one of the international standards adopted by UN in 2000: henceforth, UNECE. So UNECE is same as ECE with a couple of important letters attached.

            DenverMike, how would you defend the moronic assurance by Joan Claybrook that the original airbags were like pillows when in reality had killed so many people and failed the Cost Saving Act of 1972 by great margin? The public outcry had forced NHTSA to change its mandate for the less aggressive and ‘smart airbags’.

            What about those crappy polycarbonate headlamps by Ford and some domestic vehicles that turned cloudy and yellow because Ford baulked at the increased cost of $2 per unit for the ultraviolet protection?

            Why did NHTSA fail to properly address the obnoxious ‘glare’ from the HID headlamps when the agency KNEW that its abysmal headlamp pattern was responsible? ECE mandated the sharp cut-off as to prevent the blinding glare for the approaching vehicle, automatic levelling, and wash system.

            Why didn’t NHTSA act on its own research that vehicles with amber turn signals have higher cost benefit and safety ratio than the combined turn signal and brake taillamps?

            NHTSA didn’t see any need to mandate the external mirrors that give way instead of fixed to the doors, injuring the pedestrians and pissing off the drivers who had to buy new mirror housings to replace the one that dangled from the doors.

            I can go on and on about the the deficiencies of NHTSA, but you get the idea.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            True, the UNECE came before the DOT and EPA, but not their vehicle regulations. Nope, they came some time after the EPA and DOT. From what you’ve said, UNECE regs are tougher, but also bigger trade barriers. Trade barriers that are completely incompatible with US regs, for a reason…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      @wsn,

      That is a good reply, but it could also be noted that Nissan is Renault of Japan. They do sell Renaults in the US and Japan, it’s just that they have to fool customers into buying them.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Good article Bertel,

    There is one area of the local Japanese market I think should be looked at. That is their emission standards. I’m not fully clued in on their standards but they are different from the US and UNECE (Euro). I will research their standards and how they compare against Euro VI and EPA/CAFE.

    Fuel/emission standards and energy can be used as a barrier to stiffle any competitive imports like the emission standards for diesel in the US.

    Also, (question) Do the Japanese tax (all)vehicles on a length and width formula? ie, the old Japanese minitrucks like the 520/620/720 Datsun/Nissan pickups. If I remember the vehicle length was 4.7m and the width 1.7m. There are several classes of this.

    This tax if it exists is against imports and locally manufactured vehicle and couldn’t be classed as a barrier on the surface.

    If they do have this size standard, it sort of supports the Kei market, in which is the largest segement in Japan. The Europeans and Koreans do make some vehicle to fit into that segement, but the Japanese have a better selection of Kei sized vehicles to choose from.

    I will study the Japanese vehicle industry more, thanks.

    P.S. I don’t agree about the potential for midsizers in the US. Full size will always lead by a huge margin. But the US midsizers wouldn’t be competitive in our markets. There is room for significant improvement in US midsizers.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAF0 – There’s nothing special about Aussie, SE Asian mid-size trucks. Their hauling capacity is incredible, but that’s grossly overrated. GROSSLY!!!

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Yes we know US Pickups are grossly overrated you do not have to state it. I noticed the Midsizers you complain about are not covered by the UAW
        http://www.uaw.org/cars

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          If global mid-size trucks conformed to international SAE capacity standards, they’d be no different than the mid-size we already have.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            If all US vehicles carried ratings that were accurate, you’d see horsepower jumping all across the board. Even with SAE standards for horsepower ratings, there are those who lie.

            As for cargo and towing… You’re beating a dead horse. International ratings are different simply because they are different. There are cars sold outside the US that have the same rated cargo capacity as in the US, and there are those that are rated lower.

            US trucks are not all rated to some “standard”. There are those that are under-rated for marketing reasons or insurance reasons. Then there are those that are over-rated for marketing reasons.

            http://www.autonews.com/article/20130211/OEM03/302119913#axzz2X3CP2czc

            Whoops. And the only one willing to follow the rules is… Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Trucks in the US hover close to SAE capacity standards and NOT wildly over. I can’t speak for all the world, but Aussie and SE Asian trucks have almost double the capacity of the SAE standard.

            The Nissan Frontier gains almost 2X the capacity with nothing more that a Navara badge swap.

            Overstated horse power is easier to prove than capacity, that’s more of an arbitrary guideline based on what’s considered safe. That’s why OEMs keep HP figures conservative. All engines outputs will vary slightly as will all dynos.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Prove it.

            From specs given by Nissan, the Frontier’s towing rating in the US stands at 2950 kgs. In Australia, the Navara’s is 3000 kgs. Whoop-de-do. Big difference.

            Consider that the Navara has a lighter diesel motor with a higher torque output than the 4.0 V6. Why, oh why should the towing rating be identical if the diesel has less weight and more pulling power? Because they’re “the same”?

            -

            SAE horsepower rating standards give very specific guidelines as to how you rate the engines. Very specific. They’re hardly arbitrary, and they’re not set that way for reasons of safety. SAE testing protocols are set that way for repeatability.

            Chrysler and GM have admitted to under-rating vehicles for various reasons, (my favorite answer was given by an executive involved in the SRT4 project… “a nice little surprise for the customer”… and there are manufacturers who have been caught over-rating by use of high-test fuel or by juggling testing conditions. But those loopholes have been closed.

            The new SAE requirements for towing were supposed to likewise close loopholes in towing ratings, but, as cited, the OEMs don’t want to play ball.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – You have a point, but here’s the kicker.. The Frontier has up to 1,251 lbs payload while the Narava has up to 2,240 lbs payload for similar 4X4 double cabs & short beds.

            http://autos.yahoo.com/nissan-truck/frontier-crew-cab/2013/s-4×4/specifications.html

            http://yahoo.carsales.com.au/ute/

            The difference is the Navara only lists a diesel so those extra lbs put it right at 2X the payload of the Frontier.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Again… who says these trucks are exactly the same?

            As we’ve tried to explain over and over, ad nauseum, outside the United States, there are no “full-sized” pick-ups for manufacturers to sell. The “compact/midsized” pick-ups are as big as they’ll get.

            Which means there’s no need to artificially limit load-carrying capacity in order not to compete with the manufacturer’s full-sized truck (in this case, the Titan, with a load capacity around 2,000 pounds.)

            Seeing as how towing capacity is similar, there is no over-rating in terms of engine power or the frame’s ability to haul a big load.

            Which makes it mostly a case of different suspension settings. Global Navaras most likely get stiffer rear springs and shocks. US reviews claim the Frontier is comfortable, but the Navaras I’ve driven have been stiff and lumpy as hell over less-than-smooth roads.

            But hey… it’s easier to lie about payload than to simply use softer springs for the American market… right?

            Which probably makes sense of the fact that a (previous generation) F150 (we don’t get the new one) feels downright cushy compared to the skateboard-like ride quality of a T6 Ranger…

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Again.. who says these trucks are any different?

            Exactly my point… There are no full-size pickups outside of the US so it’s either mid-size or commercial HDs. That leaves a huge gap for global OEMs fill by bumping up the capacity of mid-size.

            Stop proving my point for me!!! The Navara and Titan have the same payload, but you don’t think there’s a world of difference in their frames, engines, transmissions, brakes, suspension, bushings, bearings, axles and cooling, all around???

            I have a current generation F-150 and it’s not “cushy” by any stretch. But obviously there’s a lot more to “capacity” than just stiffer springs. Load booster springs don’t give you more GVWR.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Uh. Prove that they’re the same.

            They’re products produced at different plants, with different drivetrain choices (with different rear differentials and tranmission torque-capacities as well), different suspensions and different target markets… Why would you assume that everything besides the drivetrain is completely the same?

            Why would an OEM build a global platform to only meet its requirements in the USA when it will sell more of them overseas?

            And sure, bring up engine and cooling issues. If that mattered at all, the US variant would be tow-rated a lot lower than the Australian variant (because Australia doesn’t follow your perfect SAE testing regimen, which the Americans don’t follow, either). That it’s not points to the difference being down to the suspension. If there were frame issues, as well, the tow-rating would also have to change to take that into account.

            -

            Cushy is relative. An F150 is not car-level comfortable, but the T6 Ranger built for the Asian market is the worst-riding vehicle this side of a knackered old Evo.

            -

            Pick-up enthusiasts out here are pretty much aware that their trucks are built to different specs than the US. You, on the other hand, seem pretty sure they aren’t, and that somehow, the rest of the world measures their trucks to a completely different standard (even though pick-up towing ratings show that isn’t true), and that it’s absolutely impossible to juggle payload capacity by fitting a suspension capable of carrying that payload.

            Mind you… we’re talking about downgrading the suspension for the US… not upgrading it for everywhere else.

            And yes, a change in suspension will alter the GVWR (and thus maximum payload) of a vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Uh no, YOU prove it. You started the questioning. Pay up… Common sense alone tells you they’re the same; Navara vs Frontier. Why would they be any different? There is no SAE or DOT equivalent in OZ. They leave it completely up to the OEM’s sense of humor…

            It’s hard to tell why Nissan kept the Navara’s tow rating conservative. Other mid-size in OZ are around 7,800 lbs. Warranty issues? Smoked clutches? That doesn’t excuse it’s crazy payload.

            There’s too many things to list including ball-joints and U-joints that affect GVWR/GCWR. Again, it’s not just about spring rates. And progressive springs will soften any truck’s ‘unloaded’ ride quality.

            I take it you’re in OZ too (shockingly), but you’re mid-sizers certainly don’t have the component’s size, girth, or meat of our 1/2 ton. Every part on them is tiny in comparison.

            Your mid-size trucks are way overrated because they need to be. Otherwise commercial HD would be forced on the general public.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            “Common sense”?

            In other words, you don’t know, so you’re guessing it should be so, and no one can say different.

            I’m not in Oz, I’m in SEA, where we build trucks that Oz gets.

            Tow ratings are relatively standard across the board. Even (shock) the US Colorado and Global Colorado have similar tow ratings.

            Payload isn’t.

            You’re equating size alone to payload. Which is laughable. We have an entire trucking industry built out here on trucks with puny diesels and relatively lightweight (by your standards) frames that carry multi-tonnage loads on a regular basis. There are no “heavy duty” pick-ups around here.

            Your assertion is that in the absence of SAE, truck’s cargo ratings change purely to convince people NOT to buy heavy-duty trucks that DON’T EXIST.

            Which is a strange assertion, as towing ratings DON’T change considerably between the US and everywhere else.

            Why lie in one area when you can lie in both? And why lie to compete with a non-existent product?

            Unless you can answer that, your claim doesn’t make any sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverSpin aka Tom Lemon (contributor Detroit News (google this name and Detroit News) E4x4 and constant UAW blogger supporting misinformation.

            WHY IS THE US REDESIGNING THE COLORADO? IT HAS ALREADY BEEN DESIGNED, IN BRAZIL. THE TACOMA HAS A DIFFERENT AND WEAKER CHASSIS THAN THE HILUX.

            THE NAVARA HAS A DIFFERENT DRIVETRAIN/SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS TO THE FRONTIER.

            WHAT GEARBOX DOES THE GLOBAL RANGER/BT50 USE. A GETRAG MT82? WHAT IS IN A BOSS MUSTANG?

            Wow. Misinformation by the UAW again.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            @ niky; can you cite specific examples of engines tested using SAE J2723 that fudge the numbers as this standard is designed to eliminate as much fudging as possible.

            Engines that haven’t been certified under this regime obviously have some latitude but as new engines are introduced more and more are certified under this method.

            Also I’m wondering if your basing your answer on the trite use of the 15% drivetrain loss that is the internet darling and has led a lot of people to believe powertrains to be grossly underrated when the truth is that some powertrains simply don’t absorb that much power?

            Its a shame vehicle manufacturers don’t post that number but I suppose with a litigation happy society its just not worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Regarding drivetrain loss, I’m aware that numbers may vary… in fact, I was a staunch critic of the conspiracy theory regarding claims of Nissan GT-R under-rating when it was launched, specifically because early dyno evidence was contradictory to this claim. I’m familiar with the dynos whose screencaps were used in the internet flame wars. One of them used fudge numbers (torque correction), while the other interpolated an entire torque curve from two braked data points… which is like taking slope measurements at the base of Mount Everest then extrapolating its height from that!

            In the past, there has been acknowledged under-rating. One Chrysler engineer admitted to it in an interview in SCC a long while back regarding the SRT4.

            Under the new standards, it will be incredibly difficult to understate (or overstate) power, as the guidelines are more specific, but as with the tow-rating (which only Toyota follows for now… everyone else will apply it during the next model cycle), not everyone complies… especially as SAE-certification of power is not mandatory.

            It should be, though. It really should be. They manage to do it for fuel economy, so why not power?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            A lot of it comes down to tow factors. #1 The US has like 1 personal injury lawyer for every 3 people, ok maybe it’s not that bad but we have a lot of PI lawyers that get paid by getting a cut of the award they get you. So they are always looking for someone with perceived deep pockets they can sue for what ever reason and usually that means large companies. One only needs to look at a McDonald’s coffee cup and its warning that the contents may be hot that was put there because they lost a large lawsuit because someone burnt themselves. #2 the average Joe in the US will deliberately exceed the ratings. So if the truck is supposed to carry 1200 lbs then they will put in 2000 lbs. If that bumper hitch says 3500 lbs max they will put a 2000 lb trailer with a 3500 lb load on it because they are “really” only towing 3500lbs.

            So to cover their butt mfgs have to put lower ratings on their US product.

            The total capacity of a truck does depend on the entire truck but the reality is that things like the frame and suspension components on those global mid size trucks is the same as they are in the US it just wouldn’t make sense to create US specific items considering how few they actually sell as a percentage of their total output. Sure they may put different springs in to soften the ride because that is cheap but designing and building a different frame ect isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – The only difference in chassis is the Navara’s leaf springs, but AGAIN, they don’t change or improve anything, just the loaded ride height. They certainly don’t DOUBLE capacity…

            It would be BIZARRE to build different sets of brakes, ball-joints, U-joints, steering, axles, spindles, bearings, etc, For 2 different markets. What’s the point of sharing platforms? Defeats the purpose, NO???

            Mid-size trucks in OZ are up to 7,800 lbs towing. That’s OBSCENE anywhere else in the world… That’s way more than any US mid-size. Nissan went conservative on the Navara’s tow rating, but remember, towing up to 2X your trucks weight is dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing *BUT* will certainly increase warranty claims. Except for the diesel engine, we’re talking a small truck, cheesy drivetrain doing the work of a full-size or heavy duty. Only in OZ/SEA………..

            Exactly. Full-size pickups don’t exist in OZ/SEA. Picture the US without 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ton (and up) pickups.. That would leave a GAPING HOLE between mid-size and commercial Freightliner, Navistar, Hino, FUSO, etc. Mid-size trucks would have to ‘pickup’ some of the slack, and perhaps, GROSSLY OVERRATED too. But that GAPING HOLE would have to made up by going beyond that.. (imagine THAT!). Or making multiple trips to perform the tasks of our full-size.

            That sort of pushes normal folks into commercial HDs and otherwise would suck to be in OZ/SEA without full-size pickups. You tell me… Is that why you guys are so ANGRY??????

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Actually, the towing ratings for the Navara/Frontier and Colorado are similar (or the same) between markets. It’s the bed payload capacity itself that differs.

            It’s the GVWR, which is pretty standard for non-pick-ups across markets, which differs between the international and US versions of different platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            @Denver: The Frontier and the Navara, are, again, based on the same platform, but are not completely identical. According to the owner forums, Frontier modifications will carry over, but some clearancing is needed.

            -

            As for mid-sizers towing 7,800 lbs being obscene elsewhere in the world… what the hell are you talking about? That’s what the TRUCK IN QUESTION (Ranger T6) is rated at in Europe and everywhere else, too.

            The Ranger is marginally a mid-sizer. It’s huge, with a beefy-frame, heavy duty transmissions and an incredible bed capacity.

            Don’t you think it’s telling Ford won’t sell it there? That’s because there would be hardly any market differentiation between the Ranger and the F150, anymore. Even worse, the Ranger falls just below the cut-off for the more lenient CAFE regs for full-sizers.

            Poor argument, using a truck that’s bigger than all its competitors to support your argument.

            And you’re still skirting around the fact that the Colorado and Frontier are tow-rated in the United States the same way they’re tow-rated elsewhere.

            Are you starting to get the picture?

            The only market with different standards for midsized pickups (and nothing else) is the United States.

            Now, pray tell… why is that? Are there sub-compact pickups in Europe that threaten compact/midsizers so much that we have to uprate them? Do utility vans with no AC, prehistoric crash safety and the sex appeal of a hippo threaten sales of leather-equipped Navaras in Asia?

            What is the one market in the world where midsizers compete with a different class of vehicle? Ah. The USA.

            You’re asking why companies in the US would like people to upgrade to full-sized pick-ups, and why they would artificially handicap their mid-sizers by lowering cargo capacity… right?

            Obviously: Profit.

            Full-sized pick-ups give them better margins. And CAFE regulations are (still) less stringent for the bigger vehicles. Yes, I checked, last year, in fact. The T6 Ranger, the biggest mid-sizer yet, still falls under the limit for mid-sizers. The F150 is safely beyond mid-sized.

            -

            You know why “full-sized” pickups don’t exist elsewhere? They’re too big. Nobody out here needs them. Some people may want them, but nobody needs them. Whether you believe it or not, we actually use “mid-sized” diesel trucks to do heavy duty work.

            Nobody out here needs to tow a yacht cross-country. And people who go camping typically don’t tow a twin-axle mansion. (Hell, aside from the UK, which is addicted to lightweight caravans, most people simply carry a pop-up tent in a luggage carrier).

            The world is not America. We don’t have trailer-park barbecues. We don’t tow split-level bungalows up mountainsides. We don’t pull tree-stumps out with our pick-ups. We use actual diesel tractors for that. (typically with less horsepower than your full-sizers, too).

            The US Full-sized pick-up is arguably an awesome machine. Unfortunately, it’s like that Swiss Army Knife with twenty gadgets. It’s too big for most people’s pockets.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – I’m not saying I don’t see your point of view.. It’s like the guy missing fingers or teeth: He’ll tell you having all of them is ‘dead weight’. In some ways, I agree with him too!!!!

            The Holden Colorado has 7,700 lbs of towing and 2,400 lbs of payload. That’s the 4X4 double cab. Now watch those OBSCENE ratings DROP SUBSTANTIALLY when it’s sold in the US…

            The Ranger IS huge, but look at its tiny components. Axles, spindles, drive shaft, U-joints, ball-bearings, leafs, control arms, etc. All mid-size are HUGE in over all mass/footprint. That doesn’t mean they’re Heavy Duty. Nothing of the sort.

            Not everything is RV or caravanin’. US truck owners make the most of full-size trucks. The size of the truck dictates how many trip you have to make to the lumber yard or into town you have to make… What tools you can bring to the job site… How many trips you have to make to the job site. How many worker you pickup at The Home Depot..

            One truck should do it all. Work/play/whatever. You’re used to being HANDICAPPED by mid-size pickups ONLY, and are making the best of a bad situation… I understand that, but don’t get angry at US!!!!

            You’re missing a whole 2 or 3 classes of pickups we simply cannot live without. Why should ANYBODY???? Fine for you, I guess. Whatever. Pry OURS out our cold dead hands!!!!!!!

            Over all, you can’t beat full-size, WHEN YOU HAVE THEM.. In some cases, not even their MPG or price.

            Global OEMs can’t make a truck that can compete with US full-size. AND CAFE would favour ANY full-size truck from absolutely ANYWHERE!!!! It’s not just favouring US full-size. The Titan and Tundra get all of the same breaks and (potential) profit margin.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Wait, so… you’re sure the T6 Ranger is a spindly, brittle-boned weakling without having ever sat inside one, driven one or stuck your nose underneath its skirts (I have, it’s part of my job). Do tell. Tell me what the maximum load rating SHOULD be on a truck you’ve only ever seen in pixelated form.

            Tell me more, please. Enlighten me on your digital expertise.

            And the Colorado rating should drop, when the Nissan’s rating didn’t? Even then, it won’t mean a thing, honestly.

            Since when is not driving a six-foot wide two-and-a-half-ton monstrosity equivalent to not having fingers?

            Let’s put this simply: You’re trying to convince us that these past few decades in which we have not driven or expressed a desire to drive full-sized pick-ups, we’ve been suffering from a lack of full-sized pick-ups? That we’ve been leading meaningless and unfulfilled lives?

            Lordy me. Oh Blue-eyed Jesus. Show us the ways of all-beef high-cholesterol living and chug-a-bucket gin. For we have been lost in the wilderness of low-priced diesel and tiny unmanly Japanese trucks.

            Keep your full-sized pick-ups if you want them. For those of us out here where minimum wage is just over a hundred dollars a month, we’ll stick with what we’ve got, thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – Exactly. You don’t know what you’re missing.. We’ve had and still have some mid-size. Try explaining ‘meat’ to a lifelong vegetarian from some Amazon tribe. It just depends on what you’re used to and not used to. People can adapt to any misfortune.

            And no one says you have to buy ‘new’. It’s all relative. Aussies buy 50K USD or 60K AUD Rangers. But used, base trucks are affordable by everyone in all parts and demos.

            Obviously the US can live without mid-size. We did just fine without mini-trucks before the CAFE and the ‘oil embargo’ sort of forced them on US. Then the Japanese dumped millions of cheap, cut rate mini-trucks on the US after the 1981 ‘voluntary export restraint’ on Japanese autos, but didn’t involve trucks.

            Thing are just now returning back to normal in the US as mid-size trucks are going the way of the dodo. Although a niche market will remain, same as ‘before’..

            But now that smaller trucks are 9/10th the size, why even bother. Some with 11/10th the price with 11/10 the fuel consumption.. But mid-size are still limited in too many ways to count. Especially against 3/4 tons and up.

            I still don’t get all the anger… Just enjoy what you don’t have and try not to hate.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Who’s a vegetarian? You’re the one telling us we’re handicapped (or at least horribly deformed and mutilated) for not having full-sized trucks. That would be like me telling you that your life is incomplete without Kei cars.

            It’s meaningless because the market is completely different and incompatible with the idea.

            -

            It’s not that I don’t know what I’m missing. I’ve lived part of my life in the United States, and my work as an auto-writer gets me in the seat of a lot of non-market specific metal (I love American full-sized cans. Pick-ups, I can do without). In the end, your stuff doesn’t suit our market. Our stuff doesn’t suit yours. And that’s all there is to it. No need to invent imaginary reasons like “gross capacity over-rating” for the discrepancy between US midsized pick-ups and global market ones.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Niky,
            Debating Denvermike about any vehicle not built by the UAW or their affiliated Union CAW in Canada is a waste of time.
            His agenda is to push the UAW agenda on well known Automobile sites like this. Arguments and terminology are straight out of the Union playbook.
            He is not into rational arguments, he is pushing an agenda. Unions outside the US/Canada do the same thing.
            See their website for Pickups, no midsize or diesels, both things he hates
            http://www.uaw.org/cars

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – We got along just fine before cell phones, then smart phones. But try to pry them out of people’s hands now..

            We’ve always had full-size trucks, at least a form of them, the last 80 years or so. You can’t pry them out of our hands, just the same as smart phones.

            But you cannot tell me, their isn’t a huge gap between mid-size trucks and commercial Hinos, FUSOs, UDs, etc. in your part of the world. You can pretend there isn’t a tremendous need there just because you’re a Hater and don’t happen to need bigger than mid-size/overrated trucks. And you don’t speak for everyone.

            And you simply cannot tell me, global trucks have anything to handle high capacity, far exceeding SAE standards, other than super stiff springs. All that does is make an overloaded truck drivable, but not necessary STOP BETTER.. Or keep the wheels from flying off.. Let alone, keep from smoking a clutch, snapping a U-joint or an axle.

            Start by using the right tool for the job. People over work mid-size trucks here too. They think they’re getting away with something until the trans or clutch is slipping. Or the head gasket blows.

            But please explain where all this hate comes from. No one here has a problem with trucks of any size. We’re all enthusiasts of all forms of autos, right? This goes much deeper than just trucks, right???

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            @Robert Ryan: Call it “lastword-ism”, can’t help it. :p

            I find it funny, still, that DenverMike has chosen to ignore evidence to the contrary, and insists, without proof, that global mid-sizers are not built for the workload that they are built for.

            @DenverMike: I don’t hate full-sized pick-ups. Hell, our new ambulance is built off of a GM cab-chassis platform with that wicked 300 hp V8 diesel. Fantastic thing.

            I’m simply pointing out, rightly, that there’s no market here.

            What gap? Please, point me at the product that fills the gap between a full-sized American pick-up and an eighteen-wheeler. Then explain why you haven’t bought one. Don’t need something that big, you say? Well… there you go.

            Outside the US, mid-range cargo duty is fulfilled by vehicles like the Ford Transit or Isuzu NHR/NKR series, which have 3-4 ton loading capacities. There is no “gap” to speak of.

            Just as you don’t see the need to be driving around a Freightliner every day, most of us don’t see the need to be driving around a full-sized pick-up, every day.

            Full-sized pick-up trucks are not cellphones. They’re gaming PC rigs. Not everyone needs one. And most of us who need the capability simply buy dedicated graphics workstations, instead, as we don’t need all of the peripherals and extras on a gaming rig.

            That’s not to say gaming rigs aren’t awesome… but there’s a reason most people buy tablets instead of PCs.

            Oh… and our big V8 ambulance? Sits parked outside all day. It’s too big for local emergency response, as it doesn’t fit down most of our streets. For emergency response, we use local diesel ambulances that are as narrow as your typical compact car. Sure, the vans are too narrow for full-on life support, but they’re what the market needs and wants. There’s no big clamor or demand for anything bigger.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – America could get by without full-size trucks if they never existed, just like anywhere else. We wouldn’t know what we were missing though. Luckily we know.

            Mini-trucks and mid-size have had every opportunity to succeed here. Smaller trucks loose out to full-size for too many reasons. The same would happen anyplace they were both given equal opportunity to succeed.

            And not everyone in the world lives in Medieval villages. Europe does quite well with commercial vans the size of our full-size pickups. Those vans are absolutely everywhere in Europe.

            Most major US cities and beach communities might as well be Medieval when it comes to parking a full-size pickup.

            But ask any mid-size truck owner if they would have been just as happy with a minivan instead of their BT50, Hilux, etc, they’ll tell you: Hell 2 the NO!!! Who the F would trade their mid-size truck for a stink’n minivan??? Let’s ask Jeff S and BAFO..

            The same is true of full-size pickups vs. Euro vans. If you need bigger than a mid-size/overrated pickup, and the next biggest is a frick’n van, or van cutoff, you deal with it or pound sand down a rat hole..

            Our pickups go up to 20,000 lbs GVWR F-550s and they’re good for up to 6 tons in the bed. And I do drive one everyday.

            It your ambulance’s cargo area that’s too big. Not the V8.

            The F-150 SC I also drive is only slightly bigger than the largest mid-size. I don’t see what the big uproar is all about.. 6″ all the way around is the only difference. If that’s overwhelming for you, you shouldn’t be driving.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            All sizes of vehicle are given equal opportunity to succeed. The only difference is, all sizes of vehicle get hit with the same high gas tax outside the US and have to deal with the same narrow roads.

            Whether you like it or not, when the ratio of fuel prices to income are high enough, people tend not to buy large-engined vehicles. Shocking, I know. And private owners typically don’t need to haul three to six tonnes of anything on a daily basis. Those that do buy working vehicles, not personal vehicles, to do that work, which is why we use cargo vans.

            -

            Six feet wide is too wide for an emergency response vehicle out in Asia. While the size of the life-support compartment is part of the issue, even European vans at 1.9 meters wide are typically too big for emergency use. Most first responders prefer narrower vans.

            -

            Again, to say that large pick-ups would succeed if sold here ignores the basic fact that the rest of the world does not build to the same scale America does. And the rest of us don’t have the same combination of high wages and cheap gas. Perhaps US pick-ups would sell in the Middle East, if they weren’t so busy buying Land Cruisers and Cayennes, but they can’t sell much anywhere else.

            Of course… I could be mistaken. I mean, non-luxury muscle cars sell extremely well everywhere else, right?

            -

            Not seeing the point in a large vehicle has nothing to do with my abilities as a driver. I’ve got hundreds of kilometers worth of track time over the past several years. I’ve driven trucks down alleyways with so little clearance we had to fold the mirrors on both sides. I’ve driven in torrential floods, off-road, and down rutted farm tracks barely wide enough to walk down. I’ve gone sideways in full-sized vans during safety testing and I’ve driven full-sized SUVs hard enough on track to de-bead the tires. All in the name of science.

            But of course, what do I know? I only test-drive cars for a living, and exchanging walls-o-text on websites is just a hobby.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @niky,
            He uses the same irrational arguments against Midsize pickups and diesels as the UAW does not build these. If they started to build diesels(highly unlikely as the profits are not there) he would be more praiseworthy.
            Best to examine the issues on the UAW website to get some idea of what he is trolling about.
            http://www.uaw.org/
            http://www.uaw.org/cars

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – Why would fuel taxes matter? Full-size and mid-size get close to the same MPG. Mid-size get worse MPG, depending on model.

            Google street-view is every where now, so OK, show me a street that’s too narrow for full-size, but mid-size fly right through. Then what happens when it’s too narrow for mid-size? It doesn’t sound like there’s a building code, specifically for mid-size. Or any size. And wouldn’t a 3 wheeled motorcycle beat them both??? Where do you draw the line?

            Why would low wages matter? OK, buy used. They do sell base trucks there, no? Here, there’s not much difference in price, mid-size vs full-size. And you’re paying full price for base regular-cab mid size. There’s the Tacoma and the Tacoma. Why would Toyota give rebates on these? There’s no reg cab Frontier, for sale in the US.

            Muscle cars have their fan base, but nowhere near that of full-size trucks. If it was just about showing off vs. actual utility, muscle cars would greatly outsell full-size trucks.

            It shouldn’t have to be one or the other. One vehicle should do it all: Work/play/family truckster. That’s kind of hard to do with utility vans. And some parts of the US are strictly 4X4. Vans are a ‘one trick pony’. That’s a waste. Especially if you’re a small business. Most US commerce is small businesses. How about where you’re at?

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            RE: Width: The F150 is six inches wider than the T6. Which is four inches wider than my delivery truck.

            This is a typical inner city street:http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_97vHXqM_pHY/S6h78T1RjuI/AAAAAAAAAGY/j-76V6u5YRk/s400/DSC01239.JPG

            That Toyota is around the same width as the T6.

            And yes, a three-wheeled motorcycle truck or a Suzuki Kei truck actually makes more sense here. Farm trails are worse. Last time I drove the (relatively wide) Navara down one, it barely fit.

            RE: Wages

            You can’t buy really expensive trucks secondhand if there aren’t rich people to buy them firsthand. And an expensive vehicle bought secondhand costs more to run than a cheaper vehicle bought secondhand. Know what the resale value on an F150 is here? It doesn’t have one. Nobody buys secondhand V8 pick-ups here.

            RE: Economy:
            Here’s the pertinent data from Australia. Chosen because it’s one of the only markets that sells the 4.0 V6 Navara outside of the US.

            Nissan Navara 4×4 5AT 4.0V6 10.9 l/100 = 21.6 MPG – highway

            Since the US rating is 19 MPG (typically lower, because the US uses a higher speed), let’s use a correction factor of 0.88 to translate the economy of the Australian models below.

            This isn’t completely accurate, as the 4.0 only has a 5AT, which means its cruising gear is pretty limited compared to the competition. Take this as “worst case scenario”.

            Nissan Navara 4×4 7AT 3.0d 7.6 l/100 = 30.9 MPG -> 27.2 MPG
            Nissan Navara 4×4 5AT 2.5d 8.6 l/100 = 30.9 MPG -> 24 MPG

            Holden Colorado 4×4 6AT 2.8d 7.6 l/100 = 30.9 MPG -> 27.2 MPG
            Ford Ranger T6 4×4 6AT 3.2d 7.8 l/100 = 30.1 MPG -> 26.5 MPG
            Ford Ranger T6 4×2 6AT 3.2d 7.4 l/100 = 31.7 MPG -> 27.9 MPG

            -

            Apples to Apples, then:

            Nissan Titan 4×4 5AT 5.6V8: 17 MPG
            Nissan Frontier 4×4 5AT 4.0V6: 19 MPG
            Nissan Navara 4×4 7AT 3.0d: 27.2 MPG
            Nissan Navara 4×4 5AT 2.5d: 24 MPG

            Midsized to Full-sized economy diff: 41-60% better.

            The truck that gives you midsized economy, the F150, then…

            Ford F150 4×4 6AT 6.2V8: 16 MPG

            Ford F150 4×4 6AT 3.5V6: 21 MPG
            Ford Ranger T6 4×4 6AT 3.2d: 26.5 MPG

            26% better. And that’s the top-of-the-line Ranger versus the smaller-engined variant of the F150. The 3.2 diesel makes “only” 197 hp, but it makes more torque than the V6. These two trucks are within spitting distance of weight, size and towing capacity. The F150 V8 is nowhere close in terms of economy.

            Sources:
            http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
            http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/

            -

            So no, it’s not close. Not at all. And some of those ratings are conservative. I’ve never gotten below 35 mpg with the Navara 2.5 on the highway.

            -

            The global market is very different to the US market. As opined here:

            *”The new Ranger is 90 percent of the size of an F-150,” Kuzak said. “In the rest of the world, compact trucks have grown over time. They’ve become dual-use [vehicles for work and family] and they’ve increased cab size, payload and towing.”*

            http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/09/ford-previews-all-new-global-ranger-but-its-not-coming-to-north-america.html

            Your concept of “compact/midsized” pick-ups is based on a US market that is radically different from everywhere else. Our trucks have gotten bigger, more powerful and more capable over time. The “ridiculous” 7,600 lb towing capability you complain about is achieved by a truck that is nearly the same size as the F150, and which is only officially one size-class lower due to exterior dimensions that are limited to meet market requirements. You haven’t called the Frontier’s 7,000 lb towing capacity ridiculous. And this rating is identical between the Australian and US markets.

            -

            We already have trucks that do it all. Any cargo capacity over 1 ton is beyond the scope of everyday use for most people.

            Unlike American farmers, who are subsidized by the government and own large tracts of land, farmers elsewhere manage smaller plots and share resources between each other, including tractors and harvest transport. There is higher population density and farm density, which makes such resource sharing more reasonable, Aside from farmers, nobody really needs such huge carrying capacity. Contractors use pick-ups for transporting construction materials only infrequently. Large building projects rely on professional cargo delivery services.

            You might as well tell American farmers that they need a Freightliner tractor-head just in case they need to move a house. Most owners will never need to do this, and those who do will hire someone else to do it. This is exactly the same reasoning behind global pick-up buyers. And even when given the choice of American engine sizes, such as the Navara’s 4.0 V6, 90% of buyers opt for the diesel engine. And most of those go for the smaller diesel, to boot.

            The smallest pick-up that Americans buy in bulk is bigger in terms of capacity and engine displacement than top-of-the-line pick-ups elsewhere, which are still not volume sellers.

            Volume in this segment is made up of commercial utility models and base 2WD models equipped with 2.2 to 2.5 liter diesels.

            And those who DO need capacity do it with vans, because enclosed vans are more useful for non-agricultural/construction loads. Better protection from weather, better protection from theft.

            That’s it. That’s all there is. America =/= the world. The rest of the world can’t afford to own full-sized American trucks. And in the future, when CAFE finally clamps down on them, most of America won’t be able to afford them, either. Not unless they get lighter, smaller and smarter. The new F150 is a step in the right direction, but, as said, it’s still much bigger than the biggest truck we get outside the US.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – You give an example of a street, famous for being narrow.

            http://www.philippines-travel-guide.com/ongpin-street.html

            It’s not good, but not terrible. Your’s is more of an optical illusion. Here the same spot from a different angle:

            http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/47273680.jpg

            http://philippinetravelogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/GEDC0373.jpg

            Same street:

            http://charleskeng.com/images-places/ongpinu154.JPG

            http://charleskeng.com/images-places/ongpinu178.JPG

            Yet Tundra based Sequoias aren’t rare in the Philippines:

            http://cdn2.sulitstatic.com/images/2012/0905/001940450_234408745652be87bf8e2e2c03a1c0b5ae04967965ea196d7.jpg

            http://car.finder.ph/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/815146-500×373.jpg

            What? An Expedition???

            http://lynneenroute.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/img_2942.jpg

            It’s not quite what you make it out to be:

            http://smg.photobucket.com/user/anak_1/media/edsa-chitogarcia.jpg.html

            The same hold true regarding farms trails. 3 wheeled motorcycles do it best, but where do you draw the line?

            Seriously? Why bring up a 6.2 V8 F-150? Then vs a diesel Ranger??? Your market would have F-150s with puny diesels too.

            The Navara/Frontier shares a chassis with Titan/QX56 so you can call it underrated for a mid-size. But payload should be the same everywhere it’s sold.

            What’s “everyday use”? A 3/4 or 1 ton pickup may make less trips into town, on a daily or weekly basis, based on capacity. If farms share trucks/chores, they’ll find a use for the extra capacity.

            I wouldn’t expect a King Ranch or even the Lariat to be a big hit over there, but there’s a fine line between base F-150/F-250s (price and size with fuel economy adjusted for tiny diesel power) and double cab globals, exaggerations aside.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            You’re missing a few key facts.

            Ongpin is a main thoroughfare… that’s four-lanes plus gutters.. in the area. Many businesses are located down narrower side-streets.

            And market streets are much smaller.

            Anyone bringing an Expedition down there is bringing a driver and walking in. As I’ve done more than a few times when I’ve had large test units.

            -

            Sequioas? Sure. We have Raptors for sale, too, and Siennas and Odysseys. Lots of American-spec, ultra-wide cars.

            Not many people buy Sequioas. They go for the Lexus variants. And the typical buyers aren’t working class.

            Again, this is the difference you’re not getting. The global middle class is poorer than the American middle class. And Asian farmers are poorer still.

            Which means that, yes, most of the farmers here do use three-wheeled motorcycles or converted jeeps for produce delivery.

            “Compact/Midsized” pick-ups are bought by rich landowners, contractors and regular motorists, lured by the car-like fuel economy (again, mid-30s mpg on the highway, and diesel is cheap out here) and extra utility. In Europe and Australia, they are bought by the same people who typically buy F150s in the US.

            Maybe people would like a diesel F150, but a diesel Ranger will sell in bigger volumes, simply because that’s where the market is at right now. If fuel prices go down and global incomes go up, market appetites might push the global pick-up class to American size levels. Prosperous buyers naturally want bigger cars. But it’s doubtful this will occur. Global oil support price levels will hover around $100 come hell or high water, thanks to derivatives buyers and the perception of under-recovery and oil supply collapse below that. And that economic weakness will keep buyers at the size and price level they’re at now for quite a while, still.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – There are no building codes in the Philippines specifically for mid-size vehicles. Eventually, you have to get out of what ever you’re driving and start walking. And you act like there’s a huge difference between mid-size and full-size. Of course not. And while ignoring the advantages of full-size. So it’s a trade off. You give a little and get a lot…

            Commercial and residential building codes in the US do favour compact parking. Especially in big cities and beach communities. Yes, when diving full-size here, we too have get out and walk/hike the rest of the way, occasionally. Oh well… Worth it? Hell Yes!

            If full-size, V8 SUVs are a ‘niche’ in your market, full-size pickups with similar footprints would outsell them like 10:1. The utility of SUVs is rather limited compared to pickups, especially 3/4 tons and up.

            It’s a different type of ‘utility’ vs commercial van, but a lot of bulky cargo goes straight from the feed store to the farm. If you have bandits make off with bails of alfalfa and hay on their Moped, well…

            Personally, I don’t want to be inside of a van packed with livestock and other farm animals including pigs. Or even chickens.

            It’s clear you don’t speak for everyone in SEA. Free trade between the US and SEA would be a great thing for everyone involved. Full-size US pickups may never be more than a niche down there just and global and Thai pickups would do about the same in the US. Either way, good for everyone involved. Even the UAW!

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Niche because of the expense and running costs.

            Which would still be a problem with full-sized trucks.

            Which cost more to buy and run than vans of similar capacity (wherein you don’t have to sit in the back with the chickens, durh.)

            Again, buyer demographics goes against what you’re suggesting. I may only speak from personal opinion, but it’s an opinion based on working the beat here for over a decade, conversations with manufacturers and long lunches with market research groups who get paid big bucks to analyze whether or not a vehicle will succeed here.

            There’s no market. Ford, GM and Chrysler sell their SUVs as cheaper alternatives to German SUVs here, but they don’t bring in the pick-ups. Ford tried for a while

            There are no regulatory barriers and no trade barriers that are not faced by the Europeans.

            There’s simply no market. There are maybe a few dozen sales a year possible in each regional distribution area, split amongst the three. That’s not big enough for official distribution.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky,

            “Expensive running costs”?

            How so? I see both mid-size and full-size run at full capacity everyday and mid-size cannot take the punishment for extended periods of time. They’re not built to meet commercial demands. You can only assume. And I don’t even want to know how much your mid-size get overloaded over an already overrated capacity…

            Here’s a scenario you’ve probably seen in your part of the world. In the US, it would likely get you arrested.

            http://www.ultimarv.com.au/bin/images/gallery/Ultima27_ext_12_gal.jpg

            Smoked clutch flombe, anyone?

            And vans aren’t the answer for every trucking need, bigger that mid-size. Especially when you need a vehicle that can do it all. Work/play/everyday family life. Or why even have mid-size trucks at all, when panel minivans make them totally irrelevant and unnecessary???
            Get real. Most don’t even offer factory 4X4. Two car/truck families/farms aren’t too common in the Philippines, are they?

            Of course there wouldn’t be an instant market for full-size pickups. There’s a lot of misconceptions about US full-size. You’re a perfect example of that. But a long term commitment from US OEMs would change that. Right now, they’re not looking for the ‘long money’.

            Japanese cars didn’t take over the US overnight. They were considered a joke at 1st. There was no market for them either.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Congratulations. I just told you that people didn’t carry large loads and you go straight back to the

            *”Midsizers are woefully over-rated because I say so, despite not knowing a single thing about the technical specifications of global midsizers not sold in the United States”*

            argument.

            And you’re falling back on the idea that families here need pick-ups, after I explained global pick-up demographics to you… and posting a picture of a scenario I told you comes up very infrequently here. In fact, I’ve not seen a single trailer-RV over the past thirty years.

            We’ve come back full circle, which means you obviously haven’t read a single link I’ve put out. Which isn’t surprising, since you did the same thing last time.

            Running costs are running costs. In the rest of the world, diesel is cheaper than gasoline, and running a gasoline vehicle at 22 mpg versus a diesel one at 27 mpg is never going to save you money, whichever way you cut it. Especially after you factor in sales taxes, insurance and sized-based registration taxes (which are linked to road funding). From personal experience, it can cost $30 to go 100 kms in a six-cylinder F150 in urban traffic. It costs just $10 to do it in a diesel pick-up.

            If you’re going to recycle arguments, don’t bother. I have enough material here to just cut and paste answers.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – Again, why would Ford push gas engines in the Philippines? A 4.5 Power Stroke would be the obvious choice for 1/2 tons and up.

            What you don’t understand is US full-size pickups are commercial grade. They have to be. Global pickups are just family SUVs with a balcony.

            And why even own a truck you’re going to under utilize? That’s wasteful, even in the US. I don’t believe that for a minute. No you’re going wait to go into town or the city until you need a full load or have a full load to take out. Or both. Or see what your neighbour needs for some fuel money.

            OK, families don’t need pickups. But when they do have one, they need a separate car too? That’s what’s great about trucks, including mid-size. They have many uses. Vans, not so much. Mini or otherwise. Never mind 4X4.

            I’ll ask again, because you keep skirting the question:

            Why even have mid-size trucks when cargo minivans can fill the “need”. Just as YOU say, full-size vans fill the need of full-size pickups?

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            *A 4.5 Power Stoke would be the obvious choice for 1/2 tons and up?*

            No it wouldn’t. For 1 ton loads, we typically use 2.8 to 3.0 diesels. 2-3 tons, we use sub-4 liter motors. But those are commercial vehicles, already, and no longer passenger vehicles. People who need that kind of capacity are business owners, though, and these trucks are not owner-driven.

            *What you don’t understand is US full-size pickups are commercial grade. They have to be. Global pickups are just family SUVs with a balcony.*

            What you don’t understand is Global mid-sized trucks are commercial grade. They have to be.

            *And why even own a truck you’re going to under utilize? That’s wasteful, even in the US. I don’t believe that for a minute. No you’re going wait to go into town or the city until you need a full load or have a full load to take out. Or both. Or see what your neighbour needs for some fuel money.*

            For the same reason Americans buy trucks that they under-utilize. Because buyers think of maximal use rather than average use.

            *OK, families don’t need pickups. But when they do have one, they need a separate car too? That’s what’s great about trucks, including mid-size. They have many uses. Vans, not so much. Mini or otherwise. Never mind 4X4.*

            We’ve had 4×4 vans. Europe still has them. And a pick-up is compromised as a daily car unless you get a roller-cover. Having a smaller truck means not needing a smaller car to take when the truck is too big. And small diesel economy is equivalent to compact gasoline car economy in traffic.

            *I’ll ask again, because you keep skirting the question:

            Why even have mid-size trucks when cargo minivans can fill the “need”. Just as YOU say, full-size vans fill the need of full-size pickups?*

            I’ve never skirted the question. I’ve already answered a number of times why midsized trucks are a market preference over larger vehicles.

            Pick-ups are bought for the same reason anybody buys anything that is not a bus, a minivan or a cargo delivery. Because they want one. There may be instances where private buyers need the capacity of a pick-up, and diesel pick-ups are a favorite amongst police forces (and the Taliban) for their ruggedness, low operational costs and flexibility.

            But in order to chase volume sales, pick-ups here also have to sell to casual buyers who want something that isn’t too difficult to drive around or live with. That includes people who might want to haul a couple of dirtbikes, a jetski (occassionally) or who might want the space to carry furniture from time to time. And then there’s torrential flooding, a problem common to many Asian nations. Having a Ford Ranger or Chevy Colorado with 800mm of wading capacity is a boon to many owners.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @niky – Still no answer? All the selling points and virtues of mid-size trucks, you so glowing speak of, over enclosed minivans are the EXACT SAME selling points and virtues of full-size trucks over full-size vans. That’s what you keep SKIRTING…

            No, consumers in SEA are not too familiar with full-size trucks, enough to know what they’re missing. And how exponentially tougher they are than mid-size.

            A diesel in the 4 liter range is likely ideal for a 1/2 ton pickup that will more than likely be used as Americans use a 1 ton dually. It may defy logic for a bigger truck with a bigger engine to drink less fuel, but it does happen. Compare the fully loaded 4X4 Tacoma with the fully loaded 4X4 F-150.

            Loads and tasks are going to vary so you can’t say one class of trucks fit them all. If there’s a place for full-size cars and full-size vans, there’s a place for full-size pickups.

            Open your mind. And you’re not the SEA spokesman for all things trucks. Because I have experience in all sizes of pickups, 1/2 tons give you the most bang for your buck. There’s no question. Ask anyone that’s used with both mid-size and full-size.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            What part of:

            “Which means that, yes, most of the farmers here do use three-wheeled motorcycles or converted jeeps for produce delivery.”

            Is hard to understand?

            And which part of:

            “Pick-ups are bought for the same reason anybody buys anything that is not a bus, a minivan or a cargo delivery. Because they want one.”

            Is hard to understand?

            The traditional role of cargo-hauling is left to vans. Period. Pick-ups are used as mobile guerilla gun platforms, in cab-chassis form as lightweight mobile police response and emergency response units and as recreational vehicles for owners who might need to haul an occassional load (not large loads on a regular basis). We don’t use pick-ups for hauling. But when we do, yes, they are built to haul the load they’re rated for.

            -

            *No, consumers in SEA are not too familiar with full-size trucks, enough to know what they’re missing. And how exponentially tougher they are than mid-size.*

            -

            No, you are not too familiar with global mid-sized trucks, enough to know what you’re missing. And how exponentially tougher they are than you think they are.

            I’ve already shown you fuel economy figures, like-for-like between the F150 and the Ranger, going back there accomplishes nothing.

            *Loads and tasks are going to vary so you can’t say one class of trucks fit them all. If there’s a place for full-size cars and full-size vans, there’s a place for full-size pickups.*

            There’s no place for full-sized cars. They sell in very small numbers, as niche vehicles, and only in high-spec trim (V8, all leather). There’s no place for full-sized American vans, either. They sell in very small numbers, as niche vehicles. There’s no place for full-sized pick-ups. They’d probably sell in very small numbers, as niche vehicles.

            *Open your mind. And you’re not the SEA spokesman for all things trucks. Because I have experience in all sizes of pickups, 1/2 tons give you the most bang for your buck. There’s no question. Ask anyone that’s used with both mid-size and full-size.*

            Open your mind. You’ve never been here. You haven’t driven a modern diesel mid-sizer, and you don’t know what they’re capable of.

            I don’t pretend to speak for all of SEA, but as I’ve told you, I’m privy to the marketing research and model planning of local distributors, and I can pretty much guarantee you that a working-spec “1/2 ton” American-style pick-up will not sell, though a fully-optioned one (loaded to the gills with luxury features) might sell in very small numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Niky
            I read some of your reviews. You write much better than I do on these blog sites.

            I’ll read more. It’s great to read how other motoring writers see the same of similar vehicles that we have. Keep up the good work.

            I can write better, especially if I proof read :) But, like you I almost write for a living, technical reports and evaluations, for work.

            Don’t worry about DenverMike, the guy can never produce valid, current and credible evidence to support arguments.

            He’s had the same discussion with myself and many others. He plays psychological games.

            Lead him on, then change tact, he doesn’t like it.

            Have fun. I don’t think the guy has ever left Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      Japan’s JC08 emissions standards are very close to Euro5 emissions at this point. But its slightly more lenient on CO emissions than Europe but tougher on NOX than Euro5 (closer to Euro6).

      As far as Kei cars. Right now, the only unique benefit of a kei car designation from a financial standpoint is cheap 7200 yen ($73) registration fee and circumventing the sales tax on initial purchase.

      The kei car classification itself are not really necessary anymore, and likely detrimental to Japanese car makers. The kei car is cheap because Japan taxes based on displacement and weight. Weighing less than a 1,000kg and having less than 1,000cc puts you in a different tax bracket. Cars don’t need to be “kei”s (660cc, 63hp max, size restrictions) to get those price benefits. Any car that is sub-1000kgs and has a 1 liter or less engine can be priced similarly to kei cars.

      Japanese car makers (other than Suzuki and Daihatsu) generally hate keis. They are horribly low-margin, they steal sales from higher margin ‘normal’ vehicles, and they can’t really export those cars.

      Which is why they are talking about having the ‘kei’ designation die altogether:
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/demise-of-kei-cars-predicted/

      • 0 avatar
        ccode81

        Most of the Japanese market is budget buyers these days…
        One thing have to mention together with emission is, our regular gasoline requires minimum octane of RON89 by industry standard. In fact it’s been said what sold in gas stands has about RON94 in general.
        In most European countries, petrol in regular form has RON95 minimum.
        What happens when European cars arrives to our market, including all mainstream models, importer recommend to fuel it up with premium gasoline.
        Probably it do not have too much problem with fueling with regular, but perhaps to avoid any risk to quality complain, no European car officially supports to run in regular. even the hot selling VW Up! and Polo.
        Today’s average price for regular is JPY 147.7 per litter, premium is JPY 158.3 per litter.
        It is simply not an extra cost the budget buyers can swallow even the car’s price that self is competitive. I’ve heard many domestic car lovers to point this out why imports are costly.
        Domestic cars, up to quite higher of the hierarchy model like Toyota Crown says it is OK with regular..
        Thanks to Mazda, finally diesel has sign to be hot here, this issue will be less concern. I hope.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Thanks for the insights, ccode 81.

          Please post more here.

          私はこれを非常に評価します

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          Regular’s 154 here in Fukuoka today.

          • 0 avatar
            ccode81

            @ juicy sushi, welcome to Japan. hope you enjoy the stay.

             Kyushu island only has one refinery station capacity of 160,000 barrels per day out of nation wide total 4.7 million.
            page 3 here

            http://www.meti.go.jp/committee/materials2/downloadfiles/g100409a08j.pdf

            They have to transport gasoline from else where to fill the supply demand gap.
            Transportation cost is on consumers.

            Well my point is, premium gasoline is always about 10 yen pricier than regular gasoline.
            Filling up average size car’s 60 litter tank that is a difference of 6~700 yen. or about a price of Macmeal BigMac set.
            Total cost difference after driving 100,000 kms are not that great on calculation, but people cares about how much cash runs out from their pocket on every each day, don’t they?

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            Ccode81, thank you, I always do. And yes, people everywhere notice being bled at the pumps. It’s a great unifying experience! Much like hating the Yomiuri Giants…

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        Seems like a deal like that would have been better than cash for clunkers. sub 2 liter= no sales tax? The dealership is still going to add their spiffs.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Hence, low diesel ownership/takeup in Japan. Must be similar to the US/California. I will research this.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Niky
      By the sounds of things you are in Thailand. Thailand is the worlds second largest buyers of pickups in the world.

      DenverMike has stated he’s been to Spain over 36 times. I would have thought he would realise even in Spain a full size pickup would sell in very small numbers.

      I don’t think he’s ever been out of Canada where he resides. His view of the world is quite limited, it appears he thinks everyone lives there lives as in the US, Canada, Australia, etc.

      He does’t understand hardship, innovation when there is literally no money.

      I don’t think he’s ever seen vehicles like trayback Transits, Ducato’s, Iveco, VW’s etc with engines from 2.2 – 3.0 litres working. He can’t understand that even loaded these vehicles can travel at highway speeds.

      He also considers all midsizers to be the same that is in the US and can’t comprehend that our midsizers are engineered for work first then play second. A concept that is becoming more removed with each new model of US 1/2 ton pickup.

      The Tacoma is built on a Surf chassis not much dissimilar to a Great Wall ute. The Chev Colorado will be released as a redesigned vehicle as well. Also the pickups in the US are designed to run primarily on improved surfaces, not rutted tracks.

      We are fortunate enough in Australia to receive global utes with the same underpinnings that are available in the less prosperous nations. The reason for this is we have a small market and the cost of re-engineering (down) would outstrip the saving that is available in the US.

      Our Ford/Holden utes have no where near the strength as the imported ‘Japanese’ utes. They are suited to our roads which are on par with NA/Japanese/Euro roads.

      As you pointed out why would we buy a V8 when we can get the same usable performance from diesels that put out as much or more torque than a US V8 pickup. Then they run as cheap as a 4 cylinder car.

      Most of the Australian utes are used as SUVs similar to the US need (desire) for them.

      If the US pickup was as much a commercial vehicle as DenverMike would like to think they would have a load capacity of at least 1.5 tonnes due to their size. This would make them quite useful. But they aren’t because they are mainly daily drivers and used as SUVs.

      But I think they are awesome, but do I really need one when I have a new BT50GT that does more than I would ever use.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        @Ozzie Al:

        Definitely cheap to run. While official economy ratings in Australia are not great, I haven’t driven a modern diesel that couldn’t do 7 l/100km on the highway, and sometimes 5 l/100km if driven conscientiously (47 mpg).

        The only bugbear is that new emissions regulations are forcing direct injection down our throats. And that’s a maintenance boondoggle if you’re unlucky and get one of those easily clogged Denso systems. But I’ve seen some newer injection systems last over 200,000 kms with no issues, and injector prices will only go down over time. Besides… with gas engines going DI, there will be no escaping piezo-injector issues on anything in the future.

        Not in Thailand. As noted in my last article here on TTAC, I’m in the Philippines, and I write for Top Gear there, as well as serving on the technical crew for the local COTY awards. ;)

        Sad about your local products. Given that the T6 Ranger was designed there, one would have hoped you’d get a local production line… but no such luck. And eventually the Territory will go when Ford releases the new Ranger-based Everest.

        The Colorado is great. The Colorado7 uses a pretty sucky electric steering rack (this is also an issue on the Ranger) and the heavy wheels overload the assist if you saw back on forth on the wheel a couple of times. Great motor, good chassis and brakes. A worthy heir to the old truck, and superior in every way. Isuzu is lucky that GM is letting them use the platform for their new D-Max.

        Not impressed by the Great Walls so far. They’re improving, but mechanical quality still lags greatly. The new Foton Thunder/Tunland is something else, though. Competitive powertrain, Getrag/Dana/Cummins/Etcetera… and decent build quality. Only thing missing is interior materials… but honestly, given the low price, who cares about that? :D

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Niky
          The BT50 does have a few difference from the Ranger in that the steering is quicker, the suspension is tighter and believe it or not torque come in a little higher. I wonder if they dyno’d the BT50 engine against the Ranger it has a little more grunt.

          I live about 350km south of Darwin and driving up here is fast, even when compared to the US. When I came back from France a few weeks ago a friend wanted a ride back from Darwin. I wanted to leave early so not to drive at dusk/night and clean up some wildlife, even with a roo bar it can still cost money.

          I sat on 150-160kph, in American speak 100mph for an hour and a half. Watching the computer it showed about 14/15 litres per hundred km usage. In the old days prior to speed limits I have done it quicker in believe it or not a 4 cylinder Camry. What a handful they are at high speeds.

          I’m averaging about 8.4 litres per hundred but my average speed is quite high.

          The part of the country I’m in we cars that are being tested, at Christmas I saw some Porches being tested with electronics/laptops hanging inside, under the hood. I google it and I couldn’t find anything on them. I got some pictures though.

          I haven’t been to the Philipines yet, but my job in aviation takes me to SE Asia quite a few times and to different countries. That’s why I have to laugh at some of the comments posted on this site.

          Also, (you heard it hear first) I do think the Ranger has the possibility to come out with a Coyote V8 the 5 litre.

          The reason I say this is the Ranger engine development and testing is done by Ford Racing in South Africa. The 3.2 Duratorque was tested in the previous model Ranger. Now Ford Racing in ZA is running a 5 litre Coyote.

          This would have the potential to be a Raptor killer if it comes out. I’m hoping, they could send them to FPV in Melbourne and drop one of those supercharged 5 litre Coyotes in it.

          Now, that would be a pickup from hell.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Niky
          Forgot to add about the Everest based on the new Ranger, I think it will actually take sales away from Patrol and Landcruiser wagons here in Australia. The Colorado 7 hasn’t had the best reviews here. But they seem more attractive than the pickup. I looked at one (ute) the other day quite closely and the interior could do with some improvement. It’s acceptable, but nothing like the Amarok/Ranger/BT50 interior in quality.

          I also read Toyota Australia is having significant input into the new Hilux as well but information on this is scant. I have read the chassis/suspension is designed here and the body. Hopefully they will come with BMW diesels, Toyota engines are getting long in the tooth, but they are reliable.

          But how accurate are journo’s :)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Bertel,
    Also, the class of vehicles in Japan based on size was introduced prior to the restructuring of tariffs and barriers.

    This gave the local manufacturers enough time to get a foothold. Now, what I’m saying is the Japanese market will change slowly, like the US pickup market would do if there was no chicken tax.

    A similar situation has occurred over most OECD economies many years ago. Including I might add Australia until we started to open up our vehicle market in the early 80s. It has taken our Australian market 25 years to come to terms with the liberalisation of it. The same would be true for Japan and the US market (especially pickups).

    The US still persists with the Chicken Tax and non UNECE regulations. The French and Europeans also do try and protect their industries as well.

    This doesn’t mean vehicles are banned from those markets. The only exception is the US. You can’t import and drive a ‘grey’ vehicle ie, global T6 Ford Ranger etc.

    The US (and Canada to a slightly lesser degree) have the most stringent and protective vehicle barriers in the OECD.

    Hopefully the US will start to look seriously at working with the rest of the world and maybe guys like Edmonn will see the value in a truly competitive global market.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      What Chicken tax And where the HELL was it during the whole mini-truck craze/fad/explosion/invasion of the ’80s??????

      US regulations are easy enough to contend with for any viable foreign auto. Same with UNECE regs. Minor hiccup when you have a product that sells itself.

      No grey market autos for the US? Who cares? We already have most of the world’s cars and trucks we want. Most are made right here.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        The “Chicken Tax” was a deal that the UAW with the then President Walter Reuther made with Lyndon Baines Johnson to keep out the about the importation of the EUROPEAN built VW Transporters and the MicroBus.
        Since then the UAW has pressured US Lawmakers to include Asian sourced Midsize Pickups.

        • 0 avatar

          Don”t you just love it. The chicken tax and the completely insular U.S. regs are easy to get around, but if a foreign country wants a certain plug or lamp, then it’s a non-tariff barrier, and proof for a closed market. What is even more embarrassing is that nobody is ashamed.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Bertel Schmitt
            Lovely double standard. I know “Denvermike” and his other Guerilla marketeers are doing what the Union wants, but in the long run it is not going to save their jobs.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Changing a light bulb isn’t rocket science. Getting around a 10-22.5% tariff is another.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “Changing a light bulb isn’t rocket science. Getting around a 10-22.5% tariff is another”
            Exactly, you and the Union you work for can make sure it is a LOT HARDER to sell a vehicle made outside NA in North America.That is what you want.

          • 0 avatar

            Note: There is ZERO import duty on cars to Japan. ZERO …

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s completely pointless to import a vehicle if the locals won’t buy it. There’s absolute ZERO difference between an unprotected Japanese market and the US truck market. Come one, come all… *if* you think the locals will buy it.

            Except we’ve had global trucks in the US. Those OEMs ran screaming…

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            @DenverMike

            Is it a surprise that the locals choose not to buy poorly designed and less reliable foreign cars? I just couldn’t imagine a Japanese would buy a Malibu over an Accord. I am not Japanese and I don’t see a reason.

            FWIW, Japanese do buy their share of MB and BMW. Even though they may not be that reliable, but at least they are attractive in some ways.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes it’s no surprise, the Japanese reject US/EU cars and prefer their own. Likewise, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised US consumers reject global and mid-size pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DenverMike
        I do think this article is about the Japanese market.

        I bet you could drive a grey import F-150 in Japan with no problems.

        But can you drive a Japanese manufactured Nissan Patrol pickup in the US? You can’t. Get the jist, it’s about Japan.

        Edmonn, in which this article is based basically believes there are import bans on foreign vehicles in Japan. There isn’t, this is what the story is about.

        Listen and research what you write. Or you probably will piss off Bertel.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          But the question is; Do I WANT to drive a Nissan Patrol in the US?

          Is it any different than there being very little demand for F-150s in Japan?

          The bigger question is; Would Nissan want to service such a tiny niche market? They’re certainly welcome.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            I thought a strong unionist/socialist like yourself should be thinking of your ‘comrade’ or as you term them today ‘friend’.

            Why do Americans have to buy and have what YOU want. Is that what the UAW is all about?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I’m an American and I prefer American cars and trucks. Mostly trucks and muscle cars but, but if I was Japanese and preferred Japaneses autos over US/EU, would that make me a unionist/socialist?

            Mine is an American car/truck fetish, if you will. It just seems absolutely bizarre to me to buy foreign.

            It would be nice if either one of you Trolls could give a straight answer for once. All your UAW accusations make you look foolish. You’re a complete joke around here… Absolutely foolish.

            Anyone here can tell you I don’t know the 1st thing about the UAW and have yet to enter a UAW discussion. And I’m very vocal/opinionated on subjects I know a thing or 2 about.

            And you say I’m a UAW “mouthpiece”????????????????

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        I remember toyota used to send trucks over with no beds. the bed was made and installed in long beach- prolly a chicken tax thing?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The chicken tax was alive and well during the import compact truck boom and they dodged it by importing incomplete vehicles, IE no bed, and then producing and installing the bed in our shores. Toyota used to make their beds in CA and then truck them up on special trailers to Tacoma WA where they were mated with the truck. The Mitsu/Chryslers went into Vancouver Canada and got their Canadian beds installed there. Not sure where the “final assembly point” was for Mazda/Fords Isuzu/Chevy and Nissans.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Scoutdude
          The rules were amended to the chicken tax in the late 70s which curtailed the cab/chassis workaround.

          The UAW and Big 3 lobbied the government. Hence, the manufacture and gradual increase in the size of mini trucks into midsizers.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I told my friend that he had left the faucet in the sink running wide open. He said that he surely had not. I pointed to some drips from a leaky washer and reveled in my correctness!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    News flash… people buy what they want to buy regardless of whether they are American or Japanese or French or German or etc.

    Just because they “don’t buy” something doesn’t mean that there is manipulation going on.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @PrincipalDan
      The go out and buy a global Ranger in the US and drive it on the road.

      Or, if you want performance buy the new HSV Commodore with a supercharged 6.2.

      Or, how about a Nissan Patrol and on and on.

      You can’t in the US, but you can in Japan and all UNECE aligned countries. There is no grey market in the US at all, or it is obscenely expensive and awkward.

      Japan has opened its markets by the sounds of it. But I think it will take a couple of decades for new players to enter.

      In Australia French vehicles are doing quite well, considering they were very novel only 20 years ago. No one would have considered importing Renaults here. Now Renaults are relatively common on our roads almost like Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @PrincipalDan,
      It is called “choice” that some US Politicians and the UAW Lobby like restricting.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      Wish i had the option to buy a new samurai, amigo, truck smaller than frontier… etc.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “News flash… people buy what they want to buy regardless of whether they are American or Japanese or French or German or etc.”

      What if people want to “buy American”?

      They do buy what they want to buy and whether they are American or Japanese do count. Your keyword “regardless” doesn’t stand reality.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @wsn
        I have read that many people want the global Ranger with the 3.2 diesel. The US would sell more of them than are currently sold in Australia.

        The US has regulations stopping you from buying a V6 Diesel Navara(Frontier) in France with over 400ftlb or torque and importing it into the US and driving it. But you can buy any vehicle in the US and import it into France and drive it.

        Sounds very closed and protected.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAFO – The difference is you can buy cars and trucks from every corner of the world in the US, if the OEMs are willing to set up a dealers network here. It’s not a small task, but certainly doable. As we’ve seen in the past.

          And much of the world excludes US vehicles with ridiculous, one sided tariffs. It definitely takes a special buyer for grey market vehicles with zero warranty or parts support.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverUAW
            Bull$hit, who are you kidding, really.

            Who is the UAW to dictate what Americans can and can’t drive. Who do you people think you are. You destroyed Detroit, isn’t that enough.

            What if John Doe wants to have a Navara V6 diesel, who are you (UAW) to stop him. The crap about spares is nonsense, we get stuff over the net from the US in several days.

            The US doesn’t get nowhere’s near 20% of what is available globally.

            Most of what is termed import in the US is actually NAFTA manufactured.

            Look at BMW in the US, take the 3 Series or 5 Series, look at how many models within that range the US receives. Then look at the same BMW’s in Australia and see how many models we get.

            Ever heard of Foton, Great Wall, Cherry, Skoda, Ssyanyong, Ford Falcon, Commodore, even the French makers, etc. Seat (you should be aware of), Dacia, MAN, Volvo, DAF etc trucks from Europe. Nissan Diesel, Izuzu, Hino, etc from Asia. And I’m talking prime movers, not LDTs.

            The globe is a massive place with millions of middle class people in all countries want to have what we have. Does this scare you as well? Competition, something the UAW is definitely scared of.

            Open your eyes to the world, as you claim to be Spanish and have been to Spain 36 times and think there is a Full Size pickup market in Europe. The M Series BMWs were developed to counter SVT Mustangs and all the rest of the crap you come up with.

            DenverDick, there is so much of the world you are refusing to believe exists.

            This is unfortunate, the UAW has screwed your mind. The world is an amazing place.

            Liberate your mind and leave the UAW behind, work and earn a real living.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – You kidding? OEMs follow trends, not create them. Unless you’re talking, the Japaneses dumping mass quantities of cheap, cut rate mini-trucks on the US in the early ’80s?

            That couldn’t happen again and had perfect timing. All OEMs can do is keep their eyes and ears open for market trends. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him buy an EL Camino or mini-truck.

            If the US wanted diesels in every vehicle, we would have them. We want BMWs and the US is their biggest market outside of Germany. NO, including Germany.

            Having an import car with a warranty and dealer network, is a whole lot better than grey market. Most parts are on the shelf or overnite’d (free).

            Relax. I was just pointing to the fact the SVO was here long before the M3.

            All the brands you speak of are welcome in the US. Whether they feel they have a good business case for coming here is another.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    What are you talking about? The earth is not flat???

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great article Bertel.

    I’m also thinking that with severe size restrictions in the cities, and traditional top-notch Japanese quality, why would someone stray from the domestic market? Are you really going to risk that reliability for a Peugeot or a Ford?

  • avatar
    Summicron

    eAmonn fingleton… title still has “Edmonn”

    Corresponded once with him. A personal icon.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Fingleton is hardly the whiny crank this article suggests.

    I think Bertel is correct about Japan being open to foreign autos. I also think it’s moot because Japanese largely don’t want foreign autos. Why should they?

    But Fingleton has for over 20 years been the single high-profile voice in the wilderness arguing against America’s capricious abandonment of heavy industry.

    Anyone interested would enjoy his book “In Praise of Hard Industries”.

    And regarding the snide about unsuccessfully googling for those reader’s complaints, they were probably conveyed by e-mail. Fingleton is exceptionally generous of his time in answering e-mails from the great diaspora of nobodies in the reading public like me.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      “I think Bertel is correct about Japan being open to foreign autos. I also think it’s moot because Japanese largely don’t want foreign autos. Why should they?”

      We have a winner! I explored a couple of those neighborhoods linked above, and saw virtually nothing but kei cars on the road for what appeared to be personal use, and I’m not holding my breath for the Japan-only kei models from the big 3.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Denver Mike–Ford is already talking about importing Chinese made Fords into the US from Ford factories in China. You and your UAW brothers will have to fight Ford on this. GM is going to do the same as well. Maybe the UAW will lose some leverage, you and your union brothers will have to step up your lobbying efforts in Washington. It does sound like the Japanese auto market is still closed regardless of the lifting of tariffs.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – I don’t care if GM or Ford import from China. Good for them, although that remains to be seen. Slap in the face of all Americans, and I certainly will not buy such a car or truck, made in China. But feel free.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “Slap in the face of all Americans, and I certainly will not buy such a car or truck, made in China. But feel free.” OK we get it your UAW and naturally you do not like seeing your fellow workers suffering a Walmart fate. My Objection is China is a dictatorship and too many companies i.e Ford/GM are relying on building there.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Was it the workers who lost out to Wal Mart or the other owners? I suppose the workers of companies like Rubbermaid got axed, but there is no system ever to be made that won’t punish those who follow bad leadership. Toughest work anyone does is choose employers and political leaders. No amount of whining absolves you of that responsibility and delegating it is no excuse either. Capitalist, socialist, communist, or oppressed peasant – it’s all on you.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    other reasons why foreign cars don’t sell in Japan

    CVTs are the main form of transmission, ie its what people learn to drive in. Its what they like, other transmissions are clunky / inefficient or expensive.

    Petrol is priced to cover cost of road maintenance and construction, not less like America, not more like Europe.

    Space is at a premium, big cars may not fit at carparks, particularly mechanical car parks.

    Japan drives on the correct side of road, just like the other countries that play cricket.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      1) If CVT is a hurdle for GM in Japan, then traditional automatic must be a hurdle for Toyota in the US, as that is not what they have at home.

      2) Same with the side that Japanese drives. If that is hurdle for GM, the reverse is a hurdle for Toyota. If Toyota can provide both and make money, so should GM.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    It appears that the Japanese market is moving more toward the kei car market. This would make US and European cars less desirable because of size.

    @Denver Mike–I was stating what was in an article about Ford a few days ago on this website, not expressing an interest in buying a Chinese made Ford. You and your UAW members will be more troubled by this than the average American. I would rather support a product made in the US whether it is a domestic or foreign corporation.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The UAW may come out the winner from mine and other’s loyalty to Americans autos and American jobs, but if you asked me what I thought about the UAW, I’d say kill it.

      Where, exactly, my money goes, is of ZERO concern to me. I just make sure it stays as local as possible and let the chips fall where they may. It’s self-serving, but as an independent contractor, I want as much of my money that goes out, to come back to me. But after that, to each their own.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Hey Bertel,

    If I wanted to read about what is going on in Japan right now, what are some good sites/blogs to read? Or books?

    I have a friend that travels to Japan on business 3 times a year and says you will not meet a nation of people more Pro American than the Japanese, he says everyone he meets loves the USA.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    These articles are getting stale. I applaud Mr. Fingleton for trying, but I could have told him he was wasting his time before he even started. The editor of this website has no reason to back out on a deal that gives him very cozy access to Japanese manufacturers, while at the same time following the line of a company he worked for for 30 years. Even if it requires increasingly bizarre feats of intellectual dishonesty to keep the charade going.

    Contrary to the portrayal in this article, Mr. Fingleton has laid out his objections to Japanese trade policy in detail many times:
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/japans-bad-trade/
    (Look, it’s even got “conservative” in the weblink title, so it should get past some people’s auto-discard intellect filters!)
    That article is really more of a summary, but if you’re truly interested in his detailed take on the US-Japan trade situation, you should read “Blindside.” It’s funny that you insist he missed the boat on his prediction, when in reality he was only off on the auto industry by about 9 years. Denying that the Japanese car market has NTB’s is silly, and easily disproven by a casual glance at Japanese trade policies and the way it’s domestic market is structured. Sure, Japan might not be “closed” in the sense that imports aren’t banned outright, but they’re restricted to the far outliers of the market. The Germans have had modest success in Japan because they’re essentially selling low-volume luxury cars. VW isn’t an exception, either; in Japan VW’s market position is akin to something along the lines of what they used to be in the United States before they decided to go back to being a volume player. The American (and Korean) car makers aren’t delusional; they know they won’t start selling a bunch of large trucks and SUV’s if all restrictions were lifted tomorrow, because there’s simply very low demand for those vehicles. But what happens when GM, Hyundai, or perhaps even Fiat starts severely undercutting the Japanese with low-cost imported keis and small cars? The real threat to the Japanese car market isn’t in America; it’s in the Korean peninsula, it’s in Southeast Asia, and it’s in China.
    If you’re interested in another nice summary of NTB’s and how they affect the global car market, you should take a look here:
    http://www.i-b-t.net/anm/templates/trade_article.asp?articleid=237&zoneid=3

    As far as currency manipulation goes, I don’t see why you feel the need to deny something that the Japanese themselves admit to doing. That’s sort of the explicit point of Abenomics; weaken the currency to improve export competitiveness. It’s kind of an insult to your readers to think we wouldn’t remember the months and months of articles quoting Carlos Ghosn and Akio Toyoda about the need for currency relief. You seem intent on denying that exchange rates effect exporters’ bottom lines, which is mystifying.
    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130509/GLOBAL/130509868/in-boon-for-japans-automakers-yen-tumbles-over-milestone#axzz2WafepNNq
    “Toyota, Japan’s biggest company, has added almost $100 billion in market value since the yen began sliding in mid-November, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then running for office, began his campaign to weaken the yen and end 15 years of deflation. Mazda Motor Corp. has tripled in value, while Toyota has increased 95 percent… The weaker yen is giving Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, the ability to project its highest annual profit since the record 1.72 trillion yen earned five years ago. Morgan Stanley estimates the currency boost at $1,500 per car for Toyota… When the yen was weaker than 100 five years ago, Toyota was earning almost triple Volkswagen’s net income and almost nine times that of Hyundai.”

    What this says to me is that Mr. Schmitt is not going to say or do anything that might jeopardize his next invite to a Lexus factory tour, a JAMA junket, or some other frippery. Even if it costs him credibility amongst his more objective readers.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “his more objective readers”

      Who dat?

    • 0 avatar

      Bertel already wrote an article about how easy it is to get “very cozy access”

      Bertel did not work at Volkswagen also.

      Guy.

    • 0 avatar
      spw

      i wonder whats your opinion of USD dropping in value vs Euro some 30%-40% since Clinton era? At the same time dropping vs Yen as well?

      Thats not currency manipulation?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Bernanke is printing 980 billion a year, and we’re accusing others of currency manipulation. We have the government that the people that voted for it deserve.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          How true and that spending is causing grief for the US’s Major trading partners. Not good for everyone in the long run.

        • 0 avatar
          J.Emerson

          Nobody is accusing anyone of anything. The Japanese are not trying to hide what they are doing. They have been completely frank about it, time and again.

          http://www.voanews.com/content/japan-europe-economy/1686840.html

          “Shinzo Abe describes Abenomics as having three ‘arrows’: monetary policies, or keeping down the value of the yen currency; huge fiscal stimulus – essentially printing more money; and encouraging growth through deregulation and policies like getting more women into the workforce.”
          “The yen has tumbled by over 20 percent against the dollar since last year. That helped Japanese exports soar at the fastest annual rate in May since 2010 – up 10 percent from the previous year. In the first quarter of 2013, Japan’s economy grew by an annualized rate of 4.1 percent.”

          It’s both amusing and sad to watch you guys try to start an argument that doesn’t actually exist. You just desperately want a chance to pat yourselves on the back for making “the right choice” in the last election, and no premise is too phony to justify it. I don’t care who you voted for, or how upset you are that America didn’t buy what your candidate was selling, but it doesn’t give you an excuse to invent your own reality.

          If you want Ben Bernanke to stop seizing the reins of fiscal power in the federal government, then try voting for politicians that are interested in solving the country’s budget problems.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            @J.Emerson

            As per your quote “The yen has tumbled by over 20 percent against the dollar since last year.”

            Even if it is true, the currency devaluation in 2012 still couldn’t explain why US auto maker didn’t sell much PRIOR to 2012.

            Let’s look at 1952, 1962 … all the way to 2012. JPY keeps gaining ground from about 1/400 of USD to about 1/80 of USD.

      • 0 avatar
        J.Emerson

        Since the Clinton era, the United States has fought two full-dress wars it arguably didn’t need to fight, massively expanded it’s surveillance and security apparatus, increased domestic entitlement spending, and weathered the worst general economic recession the world has seen since the Great Depression, while at the same time cutting taxes. It paid for these things through the issuance of debt, rather than increase the general revenue. Despite this, the value of the United States currency has remained far more stable than the yen or the euro over the same time period. The yen has fluctuated wildly, while the fiscal lunacy of the EU has basically guaranteed that it will be trapped in a continuously shrinking economy with a deflationary currency for the foreseeable future. That’s what happens when you sell the interests of a continent for one nation. The U.S. economy is large enough and diverse enough that it doesn’t have to rely on playing currency games to stimulate exports that would be unviable if their costs weren’t socialized to the rest of society through debt.

        In any case, you’re ignoring my main point: the current Japanese government has made absolutely no secret of it’s intention to manipulate the value of the yen. It’s what the Japanese exporters demanded (as reported by TTAC, over and over again), it’s the promise Shinzo Abe was elected on, and it’s been the direct policy of the government Japan to weaken the yen ever since his government came to power. There’s really no need for you to carry water for them; they’re not asking you to do it.

        Conservatives like to whine about the U.S. debt load (conveniently forgetting their inexcusable profligacy during the Bush years) but they can’t seem to face up to the fact that our problems, while difficult, are nothing compared to what the rest of the developed world faces. The Eurozone is still crumbling under the weight of the German economic machine, and the Japanese debt load is absolutely crushing compared to what the United States faces. This latest round of games is only going to make their situation worse in the long run.

        • 0 avatar
          ccode81

           Your definition of “manipulation” doesn’t sound right.

          Printing money and (as result) devalue the currency is a big bet of changing fundamental, nothing manipulated to hide the real status. it is a challenge to change the status.
          FRB and ECB kept doing this for a while and BOJ couldn’t do anything under the Democratic party administration who essentially did nothing at all.
          Why is it blamed when we think our turn came and do the same?

          Personally I prefer stronger Yen…

  • avatar
    manu06

    What are the US vehicles priced at in Japan and who owns the dealerships ? I would guess they are prohibitively priced. As to the question of yen manipulation, you bet they push down the value of the yen.
    Abenomics anyone ?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I had no idea that the Japanese market was in fact that open, Explorers and sporttracs? Not as bad as I had thought.

    But then as a previous poster commented, if a vehicle is prohibitively priced, how is that any different from the market being closed, am I going to receive BS Taxes for driving a 6.2L F150? or a 6.4L Charger?

    A ice cream sundae with lots of chocolate and whipped cream, that unbeknownst to you is all sugar free, and hides tasteless Tofu under the coating, is still crap no matter how you spin it.

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      These are straw man articles for the most part. Who said the Japanese market was closed by tariffs? Its closed because the Japanese don’t particlularly want the kind of cars we sell.

      Maybe Fiat could sell some kind of downsized 500s as key cars but outside ‘curiosities’ like Jeeps and Mustangs and Corvettes there isn’t going to be a huge demand for space eating cars that we have in the States. The Japanese have no need for an Impala for example..

  • avatar
    olddavid

    What rational human would argue the current fluctuation of the yen is not the result of currency “manipulation”, or whatever you would care to label it? It’s like arguing that QE isn’t an under the table stimulus. The label by CelticPete is apt – this continuing saga from Japan has an agenda. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with reporting or journalism, just click amassing “headlines” that I’m stupid enough to read. I’ll learn someday.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I am currently in Japan on a five week vacation. I am snapping photos on my cellphone and will try to submit an article to TTAC when I return explaining why Japan is not a closed market. No one wanting to buy your stuff is not a trade barrier. It’s a challenge for your marketing team.

    Anyway, the article will try to provide some annectdotal points. I hope it will be worth everyone’s while.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Bertel set a bad example, and now it’s getting followed. When you make an argument, most of the time you need to take the time to set a narrow definition for some key terms or you are going to waste a lot of other people’s time. In his case, the term was “closed”. Without setting a useful description of what constitutes a closed market there is no point to the whole process. To some closed may mean tariffs. To others, it may mean regulatory hassles.

    The following terms have similar issues of having become somewhat meaningless: conservative, liberal, democratic, socialism, fascism, progressive, oppressive, etc.

    Somewhere above someone said something about conservative profligacy. I would say those guilty of the profligacy aren’t really fiscal conservatives. It would be more accurate to call them republicans or even RINOs. At any rate, the vast majority of conservatives, who had no real ability to stop the over spending ave every right to complain..

  • avatar
    wmba

    Never read Fingleton, sounds like a typical over-opiniated twit to whom facts never get in the way of some good old-fashioned prejudice.

    Fact: US import duty on Japanese built cars: 2.5%
    Fact: Japan import duty on US built vehicles: 0.0%
    Fact: Japan farts around as best it can to get its currency valued lower against the US dollar to promote exports
    Fact: US prints $3 billion or more a day to basically screw all other countries, including Japan, while trying to hang on as world reserve currency.

    Fact: Ford’s Mulally gripes and grouses about Japan’s currency manipulation, then when millions of Japanese don’t step forward clamoring to buy F150s, blames Japan for non-tariff barriers. Meanwhile, basking in the accolades of journos, spends not 5 minutes attending to fit and finish issues on Escorts and Escapes. But why worry? The dopes are buying them anyway.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors on the US side, trumpeted loud for effect, so as to raise animosity among the 80% of citizens with no knowledge of the situation (or anything else, like the bovine majority in most countries) against an ally for not trading fairly when zero effort has ever been made to establish US vehicles in the Japanese market. No, those dopes should eat bacon and eggs for breakfast like true men, and recognize the necessity of buying American.

    Meanwhile, nowhere in the entire world do US built vehicles have any semblance of market share. No place at all. In China, US nameplates sell, but the vehicles are built there. So why isn’t Mullally excoriating Peru or the Andalusian Isles?

    Time for the US nameplates to get off their sorry asses and build some factories in Japan and Korea, as they have in China. Then they might actually make something the locals would want to buy.

    Meanwhile, the Japanese never mention the 2.5% tariff they suffer to import into “the free-est market in the world”. Why stir up the xenophobes any more than necessary, after all.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “Never read Fingleton”

      yet:

      “80% of citizens with no knowledge of the situation (or anything else, like the bovine majority in most countries)”

      Moo?

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      I think you are missing the argument that currency manipulation amounts to a defacto tariff. It’s a pretty simple argument really. If Japan devalues its currency by 20% is that not equivalent to a 20% tariff for us?

      Long term it hurts Japanese citizens at the expense of the companies. I actually feel really bad for my Japanese friends. They get screwed over by the government left and right. Talk about corporate favortism..

      Don’t get me wrong – that doesn’t make it a closed market. The “defacto tariffs” aren’t about closing the Japanese market. It’s about making the Japanese built products more competitive.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Does anybody else find it amusing that the Chevy shop also services Mitsuoka, the ultimate clown cars?

  • 0 avatar
    challenger2012

    JE Great writing. More facts that point to a closed Japanese auto market. May 21, 2013 Automotive News reported that 2 Denso auto parts executives pleaded guilty to price fixing in the US. This brings the total to 14 convicted. If the Japanese feel so confident that they would conspire to price fix in the USA, how much easier to you think it is in Japan. No doubt the perfected this business practice in Japan before exporting their business style to the USA. But as well all know since Japan is an open market, we know that the auto parts business is open as well.


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