By on August 28, 2012

While foreign cars are still a bit underrepresented in Japan, fueling fierce allegations of trickery by unions, democrat lawmakers and grossly underrepresented Detroit carmakers, foreign carparts do not have this problem. With the yen stuck at abnormally high level, Japanese carmakers more and  more buy their parts cheaper overseas.

Japan’s number two carmaker Nissan has been at the forefront of the international parts trade.  Nissan is expanding foreign procurement and plans “to have imported parts make up at least 40% of components for automobiles assembled at factories in Japan by fiscal 2016, up from slightly less than 30% in fiscal 2011,” says The Nikkei [sub] without naming sources.

This procurement won’t help create American jobs as the parts are coming from China, South Korea and other Asian markets. According to the Nikkei, Nissan already uses more foreign-made parts than competitors, “which are believed to have overseas procurement ratios of less than 20 percent.”

The competition is catching up though. Toyota is said to be courting South Korean autoparts suppliers. Daihatsu slashed the cost of its Mira minivehicle by using many foreign-made components.

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15 Comments on “Japanese Carmakers Intensify Imports – Of Parts...”

  • avatar

    Don’t forget that european car makers have the same opinion about Japan’s “open market.”

  • avatar

    Yes. We all know it is a myth that Japan’s Automobile Market is closed to foreign automakers. All one has to do is point to the number of foreign automakers building in Japan, which disproves that myth. Oh that’s right, there are no foreign automakers building in Japan. Yet in a tightly controlled Communist China you find foreign automakers, such as VW, GM and others. I wonder how in such an open market of Japan’s that no foreign automaker is building cars. I also wonder how many foreign auto parts makers are located in Japan as well. Can anyone tell me? I will wager a bet it is close to 0.

    • 0 avatar

      “I also wonder how many foreign auto parts makers are located in Japan as well. Can anyone tell me? I will wager a bet it is close to 0.”

      How much do you want to bet? It’ll be easy money.

      How about:
      Cooper Standard, Alcoa, Continemtal, GKN, ThyssenKrupp, Johnson Controls, Mahle Piston, Bosch, etc. etc.

      Download the .pdf and read.

      • 0 avatar


        You are correct on foreign auto parts makers in Japan. I checked the article. I am better informed because of you.

        I noticed you overlooked the first sentences of the paragraph. Why is that? Oh yeh. There aren’t any foreign auto makers in Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, better increase import tariffs so we can have a smaller selection of shittier cars!

    • 0 avatar

      Foreign automakers build in China b/c of the high import tariffs and they are required to enter into JVs with Chinese automakers for that “privilege.”

      Foreign automakers could have built production facilities in Japan if they had been willing to spend the $$, but they didn’t.

      Ford could have built Ford models at Mazda’s Japanese production facilities back when they owned a large chunk of Mazda.

      After all, both GM and Renault build vehicles in Korea after acquiring Korean brands.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps that has something to do with Japan’s population size and the fact that it’s a pretty mature market that buys a lot of products that dont translate all that well to the US maker’s core market. Is it a worthwile investment to build a plant in Tokyo for Ford to produce a kei car? Then where else would they sell it. Then there is the Yen. Hell the Japanese makers are scrambling to not build cars in Japan due to that last bit. There just aren’t a lot of sales to be had there versus say a China or India. Where would you push your resources if you were running a car company?

      Incidentally I’d love to buy a new Hi-Lux or built in Japan 70 series Land cruiser truck. Of course our own market is so open to small trucks from other countries….oh, wait, nevermind.

  • avatar

    Bd You are so sure of yourself, like I was. Maybe you should read another article Take 10 minutes; you will have another point of view later. As for your ideas, you forgot the Detroit makes steering wheels on the left hand vs. right, and that US cars are too big. No mention that Europe has been building cars in both configurations for years. Also strange that Kia/Hyundai are expanding all over the world, yet somehow cannot figure out how to sell cars in Japan to Oriental buyers. Hyundai 81 cars in 2011, Kia only 3. Nissan and Renault have a relationship, why no cars in Japan?

    • 0 avatar

      “Also strange that Kia/Hyundai are expanding all over the world, yet somehow cannot figure out how to sell cars in Japan to Oriental buyers”.
      I’ve been watching the comments and just have to chime in. Unless you understand the Japanese culture, you will not understand why there are few imported cars in Japan. Most are fiercely nationalistic, and would not want to be seen driving anything less than Japanese. Drive Korean? Forget it. Last time there in 2006, I did see Mercedes and Audi’s, for those that wanted to let others know they have “made it”, but the average consumer would not consider driving “foreign”, as they may be seen by peers as not supporting their own economy. No smoke, no mirrors, just the way it is. Harley Davidson does have a following, though.

      • 0 avatar

        I was in Japan 2 weeks ago and I saw a number of Sienna SE. Note that this car is made in America and has a steering wheel on the left side. Japanese import foreign Toyota’s. All the parking structures and toll booths have ticket machines on both sides. Japan seems to have. It is very easy to import a car into Japan but it costs money and it costs a lot of money to fix. You will not see lower end imports in Japan. For luxury goods the rarer the item the better. Luxury cars do well as imports. The reason KIA will never be successful in Japan is the same reason that Toyota will not be successful in Korea. National pride. Also most American cars would be a pain to drive in Japan as Japanese roads are much smaller. I have seen 2 Ford Raptors in Japan and they seem massive. Both times the Raptor took up two parking spots (like a jackass). Also note that Japan is a crowded market. Toyota has way more models in Japan than America and they also have more brands. Nowadays Toyota in Japan is only profitable when there are government incentives. It is a very crowded market with a very fastidious customer base. This is why it is difficult to enter. There are no import tariffs while America still has an import tariff on light trucks.

        Also #challenger2012 the use of ‘Oriental’ to describe a race of people is considered by many to be pejoritive

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, If I recall the Koreans and Japanese don’t really get along that well.

  • avatar

    @oldguy & kog.

    1) If you read the article I provided you will get another point of view and facts. Read, then write about how wrong I am.

    2) Japanese don’t seem to be so fiercely pro Japan when it comes to high end cars. Ferrari sold 386 in 2011, and Hummer 293, MB 33,212, yet Kia only 3. Seems to me protectionism. The Japanese will allow expensive cars out of reach by the vast majority of buyers at the same time keeping the domestics safe from foreign auto makers on the low end.

    3) I worked for Yokogawa as a DCS Field Engineer. One of my co-worker engineers was (pardon the spelling) Suichi Azuma, so I know a little about Japan’s culture.

    4) Oriental as an insult, get real.

  • avatar

    “fueling fierce allegations of trickery by unions, democrat lawmakers and grossly underrepresented Detroit carmakers.”

    Actually correct way to say democrat lawmakers is democratic law makers. It is the democratic party, not the democrat party. Please at least pretend that you are educated enough to know how use proper adjectives, instead of political talking points.

  • avatar

    I forgot to mention that when talking about political parties, the party name should be capitalized.

    I corrected your sentence below

    “fueling fierce allegations of trickery by unions, Democratic lawmakers and grossly underrepresented Detroit carmakers.”

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