GM On Its Own In Japan

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

GM will go it alone in Japan. From November on, GM will “switch to direct sales for all its Japanese-market models, some of which are now sold by a Mitsui & Co. unit,” reports The Nikkei [sub]. Mitsui Bussan Automotive began handling GM vehicles in 1992 and focused mainly on large SUVs, such as the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Avalanche, Traverse, Silverado and HHR.

When taking over the business from Bussan, GM will drop all the cars except for the Cadillac Escalade. Sales of the other cars will end after inventories run out. GM will focus on smaller cars like the Chevrolet Sonic and other models for which it anticipates strong sales. Its own unit imported cars like the Cadillac CTS and SRX, and the Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro, and Captiva. According to data by the Japan Automobile Importers Association, GM sold 2,345 cars in Japan last year, including 376 Hummers (which were popular amongst a certain segment that is often short a finger.)

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Caboose Caboose on Sep 02, 2011

    ...because what Japan really needs right now is more diesel, duallie pickups. Or maybe GM could export their Chinese Buicks to Japan, where they would assuredly compete well against domestic-market Lexii. Ooh, ooh, I know! Japan needs a compact car from GM; My vote is for the Vega, but the Corvair and Chevette are also worthy candidates.

  • Philadlj Philadlj on Sep 02, 2011

    I have to admit I smiled every time I saw a left-hand-drive Escalade, Corvette, or Camaro (I saw one of each). The saying rings true that "you only want what you can't have." I even saw a Chevy Astro, which had made a long trip from its (and my) Baltimore birthplace. If you REALLY want a Toyota Vellfire or Subaru Exiga, you could bring them across the Pacific and federalize them, but only if you had way too much money lying around...

  • Acubra Acubra on Sep 02, 2011

    Blame the strong domestic market and pricing policy. Just to compare: Cadillac Escalade, new: 764万-955万円 (99,500 - 124,400 USD) Toyota Land Cruiser 200, new: 435万-692万円 (56,700 - 90,200 USD) Now, how deep in love with US auto one should be to even consider it? As for small cars, well, we've seen it before, haven't we? Cavalier, various Opels et al... It is amazing how GM is committed to making the same mistakes over and over again.

  • LordDetroitofLondon LordDetroitofLondon on Sep 05, 2011

    Toyota Cavalier!