Ghosn To Japan: Do Like Switzerland, Or Become Like Switzerland

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
ghosn to japan do like switzerland or become like switzerland

For quite some time, Carlos Ghosn had been the booh-leader against the strong Japanese yen. At the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show, he launched into his so far strongest worded tirade against the “abnormal” yen. He told the Japanese government to learn from the Swiss, and to basically peg the yen to another currency.

Currently, about half of the Japanese auto production is exported. At a loss or at the very least at no profit. No sane business person will invest into a country with no return, says Ghosn. Investments and jobs will go elsewhere:

“The main problem we are facing today is the uncompetitive value of the yen. The yen is not so much a problem for the Japanese carmakers. The yen is a problem for Japan. Japanese makers are moving production little by little outside of Japan. The car industry employs between four and five million people in Japan, and more than half of the industry works for export. If the car industry goes, a substantial part of employment is going to go with it.”

What the strong yen does is strengthen the industries of Thailand, China, Mexico, or other emerging export bases. Ghosn had said this for quite some time. The answer was that the Japanese government is helpless, that no amount of quantitative easing seems to be able to stem the strengthening of the yen. This time, Ghosn says what should be done:

“People say there is no solution. Wrong! Wrong! Look what the Swiss have done. Switzerland is a great benchmark of how a small country has drawn a line in the sand. They said: Enough is enough, we will not allow the Swiss Franc to rise above a certain level against the Euro. Everybody laughed, but they stuck with it. What we are encouraging is that the government of Japan takes the same stance. If Japan draws a line in the sand, the market will listen.”

If the Japanese government will not listen to the plight of its carmakers, carmakers won’t suffer, Japan will:

“Japanese car makers will survive this. They already are global. What we are saying is this: If there is nothing that is done, don’t blame us for the consequences.”

In other words: Follow the example of Switzerland, which had a similar problem with its rising currency, until it was effectively pegged against the Euro. Or watch the Japanese industry collapse to Swiss size.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Dec 04, 2011

    Say I am Japanese and to make profit I take low interest loan in Japanese bank, exchange it to $$ and deposit it in bank in country with higher interest rate, basically making money from nothing. To solve this paradox - when I exchange $$ back to yens - I have to buy yens back at higher rate. Therefore yen inevitably becomes stronger over time.

  • Rnc Rnc on Dec 06, 2011

    Been away for awhile, Japan can't do anything to change it's future (neither can the US or Europe (with the possible exception of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Netherlands) for that matter, Goto the finance professor web page and watch the parts on LTCM (how to turn $3 billion into a half trillion $ bet that goes bad) and the asian financial crisis of 97' and 98' and it's like a 35mm negative that the US and Europe turned into a freaking IMAX feature, they can devalue and pump money right now, Japan's problem is it started that process 30 years ago and has run it's course, devalue you're people or industry (real industry, not finance or medical that just sucks wealth without creating) or government and in the end it's all three.

  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.
  • El scotto Rumbling through my pantry and looking for the box of sheets of aluminum foil. More alt right comments than actual comments on international trade policy. Also a great deal of ignorance about the global oil industry. I'm a geophysicist and I pay attention such things. Best of all we got to watch Tassos go FULL BOT on us.