By on March 10, 2017

Tokyo Street

Japan has, once again, scoffed at U.S. demands for better access to its car market on Friday, setting the tone for next month’s unproductive talks on bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso are supposed to hash things out in April but, before they’ve even managed to exchange pleasantries, the table is being set for failure.

If you’re wondering who is to blame, there are plenty of places to point the finger. The U.S. government complained to the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, claiming there are “a variety of non-tariff barriers [that] impede access to Japan’s automotive market.”

Today, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, offered his rebuttal to reporters. “We do not impose import tariffs on cars, and we do not impose any non-tariff barriers,” he said. 

Deciphering which country is slinging lies is a waste of time, as both are technically correct in their statements. While Japan does not impose import tariffs on American automobiles, but they’ve also routinely failed to sell any at a meaningful volume. A large part of that has to do with the overwhelming prejudice against U.S. cars within the country. What cars do make it are part of a niche market that is so small, it’s almost not worth mentioning. American cars only made up 0.3 percent of the Japanese market in 2016 and those that do make it to the islands end up stickering for nearly double the domestic price.

Any automaker wanting to sell at volume would be forced to invest heavily into Japan’s costly real estate, build an extensive dealer network, select models suitable for the market, and then spend a fortune on a massive PR campaign to change the perceptions of a consumer base that had already made up its mind. It’s a massive expenditure what would still result in a big gamble. However, that gamble would be tariff free.

“Our position is that Japan’s auto market is already open. This is something that will be settled in our bilateral dialogue,” claimed Suga.

It might not even be worth debating the matter, as we know Japan isn’t interested in offering a handout or even a leg up to foreign manufacturers — even highly desirable German cars just barely get in. However the Trump administration has indicated a strong interest in supporting U.S. automakers and has already been critical of the Japanese government for sending so much product to North America while accepting so little in return.

Lines are being drawn in the sand, and you just have to wonder why. Especially when China is right there, much larger, and open for business.

[Source: Reuters]

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73 Comments on “Japan Says There’s Nothing Closed About Its Barrier-filled Automotive Market...”


  • avatar

    There are foreign cars all over Japan. We’ve never tried to export cars Japanese consumers want to buy. Wrong engine sizes and poor quality doomed Neon amd Cavalier. The conversions to right hand drive were done awkwardly. 40% of the Japanese market are minicars we don’t build. Our larger stuff doesn’t fit their roads and tax structure.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Ruggles,
      Quite true.

      I do believe the Japanese and Europeans have been far more successful in capturing the global market, where the US is not achieving.

      If you look at FCA’s global push with vehicles verging on Chinese quality or even GM’s failures with Holden, Vauxhall and Opel you see the US’es auto industry’s poor global model.

      The US needs to realise the promotion and protection of large vehicle manufacture has in a way created a Jurassic Park.

      The US has created a vehicle manufacturing model heavily reliant soley on large vehicle production via the use of a 25% import tax, more generous emission standards on largeer vehicles, etc.

      The US needs to look closely at its design and safety regulations. Looking at the data the US actually has a significantly higher rate od road fatalities. Harmonisation with the rest of the world will help the US auto manufacturers.

      The US industry is heavily reliant on so-so cheap consumer vehicles.

      The only way this will change is through the gradual restructuring of all controls, taxes and regulations in the auto sector.

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        You’re right. In both TTAC articles it is also assumed that today’s American made and legislated cars are of better quality. Look at reliability ratings of all flavours and that is just not true. FCA especially, of course, but also GM and even Opel in Germany continue to struggle relative to their competition.

        Traffic deaths in the US are also in large part related to a peculiar driving culture and infrastructure choices:
        http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21656668-despite-improvements-driving-america-remains-extraordinarily-dangerous-road-kill

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Even if converted competently to RHD, I can’t think of any US-branded vehicle that can succeed in Japan for the reasons Ruggles has expressed as well as Japanese tastes in optioning and trimming vehicles that are way different than vehicles in our country (US). Exporting to Japan is more trouble than it would ever be worth and US manufacturers well know it. All the complaining and moaning about the issue by the manufacturers and politicians is puffery and nonsense.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        bullnuke,
        What you state is true.

        Maybe, US policy towards the auto sector should remove the incentives in producing large vehicles or equalise competition. This is where the US is on its own. There is no market globally that offers large vehicle production incentives.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      OMG you’re alive!

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Their segments and tax benefits are designed to be incompatible with the global marketplace. Some of it is by necessity. Some of it is backdoor protectionism.

      The idea that Japan isn’t protectionist is perhaps more absurd than the American manufacturers who like to pretend they’d be selling a half million units in Japan if they would deregulate.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        TW5,
        What tax benefits are available to prop up the Japanese manufacturers at the expense of US imports?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Al I think what he is saying is that they intentionally structure regulations (not tax) to hurt importers…Sort of like you assert the US does through CAFE.

          Honestly who cares, the Japanese market is tiny and not really worth spending money on. Frankly if you aren’t China, North America, or the EU you are going to get the leftovers with the exception of home market manufacturers (Like Japan).

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Much of the US market is defined by vehicles that have almost no market elsewhere. The best selling cars are the Camry and the Accord. Toyota and Honda have developed them both to meet US needs and desires that aren’t consistent with mass market cars anywhere else. They’re big and they’re available with powerful engines that are reserved for the elite everywhere else in the world. Full sized pickups are even bigger players in the US market, and they make little sense anywhere outside of our continent. We’re big enough to have vehicles developed for our conditions. That the Japanese car companies make the best cars available for the unique US market points to the reality that they make the best cars available for their own unique market requirements. It would be nice if Ford or GM could make cars good enough to compete with the Japanese for their domestic market, but the reality is that they can’t make cars good enough to compete with the Japanese for our domestic market. Only jingoists buy US cars in the US. How are they going to appeal to jingoistic Japanese buyers? Maybe they can try to be the Subaru of Japan by appealing to people who see themselves as members of a counter-culture and don’t know anything about cars. Subaru is a small player in a huge market. Being a small player in the Japanese market…is what they’re already achieving.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @ToddAtlasF1
          Nope. Camry and Honda Accord is what you get here, Right about the poor quality US vehicles not competing with Japanese vehicles in the US.Toyota Camry has that incredible 14 yrs at the top
          Toyota Aurion, top spec Camry in Australia
          http://www.toyota.com.au/aurion/specifications/at-x?WT.ac=VH_Aurion_RangeAndSpecs_RangeBanner_AT-X_Specs

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            @AussieAL, The Camry is only at the top if you use the accounting trick of discounting trucks which are used as personal transportation by many in the US. Your Camry then drops to 4th behind the Ram, Silverado, and F150 at the top which alone outsells the Camry 2 to 1. Where are the Titan and Tundra on that list? I dunno…It only goes to 25 which means they are somewhere behind the Chevy Cruze. The Tacoma did make the list at 24 however…Well behind even the GMC full sized trucks. Must be that poor US quality. Even so Ford sold 246,000 Fusions to Honda’s 311,000 Accords. That is hardly uncompetitive.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I should edit to say the F Series, not just the F150 however they are more alike than different nowadays with the return to shared body components.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Todd,
          The vehicles you touted for the elites elsewhere are mainly Euro cars.

          Large Camry’s and Hondas are not. A Lexus might be better placed.

          The US made midsizers are to expensive relative to the expected quality.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Todd,
          Sorry, I forgot to add.

          The US market is shrinking relative to global expansion. This means the rest of the world will have more competitive vehicles. Add this with the rest of the world adopting a common design and safety model further pushes the US aside, the US vehicle production based on larger vehicles protected by a raft of measueres encouraging the investment into products like fullsize pickups (again, I’m not stating they are bad).

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      “mr. Middleman” Ruggles is back!

      I feel that Ruggles should only be allowed to post articles on ttac.com through an incompetent middleman, who treats him with disdain and disrespect, and charges him a fortune for the honor..!

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        Oooooooh. I see what you did there.

      • 0 avatar

        If the OEMs want to sell direct to consumers all they have to do is stop renewing franchise agreements with their dealers that currently preclude them from doing so. What could be more simple? Then there wouldn’t be a dealer network to worry about. Wonder why the OEMs don’t just do this to satisfy a small cadre of idiots? What’s stopping them. You ever seen a franchise agreement? OEMs aren’t forced into them. They enter into them voluntarily. Yes, there are a few states that have laws protecting dealers from their OEMs, but if there aren’t any dealers any more, who will the laws protect. HINT: The GM and FCA dealer agreements all come due on the same date this time based on when they exited Chapter 11. Now’s you’re chance. Go for it.

        They could even write into the new franchise agreements that they, the OEM, have the right to sell direct. What would stop them?

  • avatar
    threeer

    Like the low manual-trans take rate here in the US, Japan’s market has spoken…and they just don’t want much of anything the American nameplates make. Where Japanese manufacturers have tailored product (and production) to American tastes, Ford, GM and Fiatsler just don’t seem to be interested in playing the same game in reverse. And like other countries (Germany, for instance), the Japanese prefer the “home team” players. I’m not sure that a 100% wide open market in Japan would make much difference unless/until the American manufacturers started developing vehicles specifically for the Japanese market (and maybe also manufactured there).

  • avatar
    Fred

    Aparently they like Caterhams http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/cars/article-4125574/Best-sales-20-years-Caterham.html

  • avatar
    Notmyname

    Japan should just say “Fine, bring your cars over, try and sell them” just to watch the Detroit 3 not even bother, because they all know it’s not worth the investment.

    Even if Ford did try to sell in Japan again, does Trump realize that the only cars Japan might want are the the ones Ford is building in Europe. Which wouldn’t really help american workers, would it

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Noymyname,
      Ford would be the only US manufacturer that has a chance in the Japanese market.

      Ford would need to export EU made Fords that comply to ENCAP. The US is left out because of its refusal to join the rest of the world.

      EU Fords means no US manufacturing jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Notmyname, why don’t they say that? What are they afraid of?

      I’m tired of the assumptions that US carmakers can’t make cars that will sell in Japan. If we’re so confident of that, open the market and let them try!!!

      Keep in mind that the early Japanese cars in the US were nothing to write home about.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Ah, the energy crisis has proven you wrong. Then there was something to write. Cheques to Japan.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          No, he is correct…Those early cars weren’t very good, they just got good fuel economy. That allowed them to build better cars and the rest is history.

          And funny…a dude from a Right Hand Drive country griping about other countries not joining the rest of the world.

          The juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Even if Ford successfully penetrated the Japanese market it would be a small piece of a small pie. They would be smarter to devote resources to their home market in the US, Continue doing well in Europe, and invest in China. They are behind the curve in China.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            I didn’t state he was incorrect. I highlighted the fact the Energy Crissis gave the real lift to Japanese quality.

            After the Energy Crissis Japanese vehicles went ahead in leaps and bounds leaving the US and even Australia producing poor quality vehicles.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    Let’s assume for a second that Ford/GM/FCA would like to sell more cars in Japan. What exactly are they asking the Japanese government to do? If there are no tarrif’s, what more is needed? The japanese seem to have complied with US demands – building big cars/trucks/minivans in US factories. Have any of the big 3 attempted to build a kei-car in a japanese factory?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Well there is a lot more money building cars in America for Americans. Would it seriously make sense to invest in a Kei Car, let alone a dedicated plant to build them?

  • avatar
    EAF

    There is a Japanese car culture that buys/modifies/drifts Dodge vans aka “DAJIBAN.” Google it fellas, it’s wild.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Japan is BMW Group’s sixth largest market by volume–almost 76,000 cars last year according the president of BMW Group Japan. Herr Former Editor Schmitt recently wrote an interesting article for Forbes about non-tariff barriers in selling cars in Japan and how BMW succeeds in that market.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/bertelschmitt/2017/02/27/bmws-japan-ceo-reveals-the-countrys-true-non-tariff-barriers/#20ea4eb52f65

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Acd,
      One reason for the ease (over the US) at which the Euro manufacturers can import to the Japanese is not just the EU’s production of smaller vehicles.

      ENCAP. The Japanese use the same model for their vehicle assessing, thus eliminating costly duplication of product testing.

      This is where the US is on its own manufacturing under its own system. I have read a few years back that 13 billion dollars a year could be saved by the US if it adopts what the rest of the world is doing.

      • 0 avatar
        nguyenvuminh

        Great article but a lot of the information have been written over the last 2 decades elsewhere. Nevertheless, it’s good to get current data and current scenario for clearer picture. Great conclusion but I’m afraid we’re not even dealing with “closed mind” anymore as stated at the end of the article but more like ” deceit”.

    • 0 avatar
      Notmyname

      Great article, thanks for sharing it

    • 0 avatar
      quasimondo

      I especially like this quote from CEO Peter Kronschnabl: “You can’t just come and say, here we are, why don’t you buy our products. You have to understand the customer.”

      It’s quite reminiscent of Japan’s initial entry into the US market in the 1950’s with cars that were fine for Japanese roads, but completely unsuitable for American ones. Eventually, the Japanese automakers got wise and learned what it would take to sell a car in America. If US automakers want to be as successful in Japan as the Japanese automakers were in the US, they’d do well to steal a page from Japan’s playbook.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        It took almost 20 years for Japan to be successful in America, that an oil crisis. No one can predict a crisis, especially one that woult benifit American cars, and I don’t think they are willing to invest 20 years in project that doesn’t make them money.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Why don’t Ford just buy Mazda? Oh wait…..

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I’m not sure that anyone except perhaps Toyota actually makes a profit on the cars they sell in Japan. Kei cars are not profitable for anyone, dealer networks are costly and not efficient for everyone, and sales volume continues to sink as the Japan’s population shrinks – certainly not an attractive market to enter for anyone except some niche vehicle types such as Caterham, Morgan, and some prestige brands.

  • avatar
    George B

    What about Toyota, Nissan, and Honda brand vehicles built in the US? The Japanese dealer networks already exist for those brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      George,
      How much will it cost to export to Japan? Are the US made Japanese vehicles of the same quality?

      Japan also manufactures vehicles in Thailand. How can the US be competitive.

      The US needs to build JNCAP compliant vehicles.

      The US has dug itself into a hole outside of the US. US companies building in ENCAP signatory nations have a better chance.

      How large are these vehicles?

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota tried exporting Avalon to Japan but it flopped due to shoddy quality. Same with Illinois built Eclipse.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @ruggles
        We had US built Minnie Winnies sent to Australia by Winnebago. 20 in all, they could not sell all of them and gave the unsold ones to a Cancer charity. , for use as display mobile buildings. Eventually they managed to get a RV Rental builder to start producing some or rebranding some rental products

  • avatar
    Notmyname

    At some point Americans need to realize that we are the ones that put up barriers, not the other way around.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      What kind of cave-in, self-hating, blind-to-reality globalist masochism are you bleeding on our sidewalk?

      None of us is anymore able to buy anything more sophisticated than vinyl siding or bumper stickers that has been 100% manufactured in America and the commodity chemicals for those come from China.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Big Al–The Toyota Georgetown, KY plant already makes right hand drive Camrys for export to Japan. Japanese manufacturers are already exporting cars made in the USA, Canada, and Mexico to Japan. As for most safety and emission standards it would not take to much to change them to the Japanese market. What is really needed is to adopt Global safety and emission standards for all major developed countries which might not happen anytime soon with change in the US President. The Georgetown plant is going to make a specific Lexus model for both North America and export to Japan. It is less expensive to produce Toyotas at the Georgetown, KY plant with nonunion labor than it is in Japan and Georgetown has expanded their production capacity. Toyota has been very successful with their production in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jeff,
      There is trade, I don’t deny that.

      The need is for increased trade from the US. This is the US view. I don’t disagree with this as well.

      There already is a global vehicle harmonisation system in place. The only country to not adopt is the US.

      What percentage of the global market does the US represent? As many are now realising the world will not change to suit the US. The US auto industry needs to come on board to what the other 80%+ of the world is doing. This will facilitate trade between the US and other signatories.

      The US has a more than favourable approach to large vehicle manufacture. This is where the US is competitive …… because no one else is heavily dependent large vehicle production.

      The US is quite uncompetitive at what the world wants in vehicles, combine this with different design and safety standards you have an industry trying that is hamstrung.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    What “barrier-filled automotive market”? A lack of effort by the manufacturer is not a “barrier”.
    I’m not sure what exactly is the Japanese government expected to do.

    GM sold 1300 cars in Japan last year. The Jeep brand alone sold 9400 cars in the same period. Would GM show that as a proof of an unfair advantage given to a now Italian owned automaker?

    Even Americans won’t buy a Chevy Captiva if it started at 33K or a Cadillac CT6 at 87K, so why would they expect Japanese to?

  • avatar

    The Jeep Cherokee used ro sell well in Japan. It was a well done RHD because Jeep built them for rural mail carriers.

  • avatar

    I see European Fords and Opels all over the place in Japan.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    My 1979 Pontiac Trans Am went to WORLDWIDE HIRO in Japan in 1993. There was quite a market for it at the time. Hopefully it is still operational and the Oldsmobile 403 is performing flawlessly.
    That was my first car with the MIDNITR license plate.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Big Al–I am not disagreeing with you I am responding to your statement about Japanese importing American made vehicles from Japanese plants. Toyota and Honda both export vehicles from their US plants to Japan with right hand drive and complying with Japanese safety and emissions standards. I don’t think most domestically made vehicles from US manufacturers are competitive but that is not necessarily a bad thing unless you are just looking at trade the way the current administration is which I don’t think will work in the long run. As long as fuel is inexpensive and there are no penalties for buying and driving a larger sized vehicle then most Americans will not change their habits. Fuel prices will go up again and buyers will get rid of their larger vehicles for smaller and more efficient vehicles and then fuel prices will go down and back to the larger vehicles thus a repeating cycle. I myself don’t need or want a full size truck, crossover, suv, or car but then I realize I am in the minority. I don’t want a mini vehicle. The smallest vehicles that I own are a 2013 CRV and a 1999 Chevy S-10 extended cab with a 5 speed manual and 4 cylinder. I would not classify my 2008 Isuzu crew cab as a small vehicle but compared to a full size half ton F-150 then it would be. Something the size of a Smart car would be smaller than I would like and would not meet my needs as well as the CRV which a CRV is not a small vehicle but it is not large either.

    I have owned several full size cars with V-8s in the past and have enjoyed them but I have not owned a full size V-8 powered vehicle in over 15 years because I don’t need or want one. I can afford one but I just don’t enjoy them as much as I once did. The roll back of certain efficiency standards by the current administration in the long run will not help the manufacturers as much as agreeing on Global efficiency and safety standards which would give manufacturers more predictability in projecting costs as long as these standards are not just determined by bureaucrats but the engineers who work in the industry. It would be fairer to tax less efficient vehicles but raising fuel taxes and excise taxes are unpopular with most voters. These are just my opinions and my knowledge of the auto industry is more limited than those who work in the industry but I have more experience with Government bureaucracy. Most Global vehicles have not done well in the US market and most US based vehicles will not do well in most Global markets. Basing a vehicle on a Global platform does save development cost but then the design and the features of that vehicle need to be tailored to that specific market. Realistically I don’t think the US can operate outside of a Globalized market but then my views are more influenced by pragmatism and less by politics. The above is just one man’s opinion and in not intended to reflect every ones opinions.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jeff,
      The US needs to improve exports to Japan.

      Even the vehicles you mention are not sold in sufficient numbers, or the US would not of raised concerns on the lack of US vehicles in the Japanese market.

      Simply put, the US needs to improve quality, price, vehicle choice, remove many of its tariffs and technical barriers (harmonise) and perception of US vehicles for the Japanese market.

      I do believe if the US opens its markets more to the world the US will benefit.

      Products that are heavily dependent on artificial support and protection will be produced in numbers that the consumer wants, prices will drop on vehicles and some vehicles made redundant.

      The US can’t produce (or will find it difficult) a competitive global product under the existing feamework of protectionism.

      Whilst this is in place the US influence will gradually decline globally, as has been occuring.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – OEMs will cut back production, not price, if their vehicles are selling slower than expected. Or ultimately kill them off.

        The Colorado/Canyon has been back for a while, and are fullsize pickups any cheaper? Are ANY pickups cheaper??

        But I agree everyone wins by having more competition, whether directly or indirectly.

        And car prices (on average) are already cheaper here (before taxes), than any market you can think of.

        It may not be perfect, especially if you care little about crash safely and emissions, but why never a mention of Europe’s very own “Chicken Tax” and auto tariffs 400% higher than US tariffs?

        As far as “harmonization” goes, it would take all sides coming together. Remember, Europe would be the biggest losers. We already have most of the top sellers Europe has to offer. That little “400%” is there for a very specific reason.

        Plus European manufactures would then be competing with US brands, in parts of the world, they once had to themselves(and a few others), as imports.

        And the whole reason we have vastly differing standards is Europe’s regulations systematically “zig” everywhere US regs “zag”. It’s to the point of comedy, but again, there for a specific reason.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      “The roll back of certain efficiency standards by the current administration in the long run will not help the manufacturers as much as agreeing on Global efficiency and safety standards which would give manufacturers more predictability in projecting costs as long as these standards are not just determined by bureaucrats but the engineers who work in the industry.”

      I want cars built the way I like them and for the way I use them. I don’t live in Europe, nor do I live in China. Why on earth would I settle for a car built for the needs of someone who has nothing in common with me and who uses a highway system that has nothing in common with the one that I do? The US is big enough to justify Japanese V6s and Detroit V8s. It is a big enough market to justify cars that are comfortable for four adults. It’s a big enough market to justify building pickup trucks that can tow their rated GCVWs at 80 mph. People that have been cowed into believing the same tired lies that have been disproven countless times over the past 25 years about the sky falling can drive whatever they can be convinced will lessen their impact on the goddess, but I’m not signing up for their death cult.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    FCA needs to start exporting a Challenger/Charger with a 4 cyl, 1100 cc engine, paint it in cute colors and call it HellKitty for Japan.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Big Al many of the GM and Ford cars are designed in Europe and South Korea so with the exception of the Chrysler 300, Mustang, Challenger, Camaro many of the cars like Fusion, Fiesta, Focus, Buick LaCross, Buick Regal, and Chevy Cruze many are designed and based off of Global platforms. Crossovers and full size pickups are different and unique. The full size pickup is one of the last remaining unique vehicles. Eventually the full size sedans will disappear. I think the Trump is going in the wrong direction in that the automakers need to make their smaller less costly vehicles in Mexico and make the more expensive vehicles in the US. I don’t think focusing on the Japanese market is going to provide the increase in market that GM, Ford, and FCA need. Japan has an aging population with fewer young people. GM and Ford are wise to put their focus on China. Many of the US vehicles in the future will be designed in China. The US will become a smaller market but still an important market. China is the future.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Bashing a terminal People and auto market like the Japanese makes little sense unless this is a tit-for-tat related to the American defense presence there looking to orchestrate a token acceptance into Japan of a few thousand American cars for some high political bluster by Drumpf.

    maga

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @OldManPants–Agree Japanese auto market doesn’t make sense. Maybe a few types of vehicles such as a Mustang but US domestics cannot compete with the Japanese on smaller cars and trucks. China on the other hand has continued opportunity for growth which is a major reason Ford, GM and FCA have divested themselves of most of their holdings in Mazda, Isuzu, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi. Investment in Chinese manufacturers makes a lot more sense.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Little history lesson is in order. It took 20-30 years for Japanese to start selling in meaningful quantities in U.S. How they succeeded – consistently offered superior quality and engineering compared to massively crap domestic products. So the U.S. manufactures need to do 3 things – offer way superior engineering and quality over Japanese, hope that Japanese will start making dated crap and then they will have to wait and hope for few decades for this situation to continue :) Then maybe they will see some results.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      The domestics (and American consumers) should not have any expectation of an overnight turnaround in overall quality and reliability. The “good things in life, take a long time…” Now, somebody, tell me the song those lyrics are from, and the group that did it. Extra points for the year it was released. Bonus points for the album title.

      • 0 avatar
        JEFFSHADOW

        I’ve Been Searching So Long – Chicago 1974 , #6 I believe.
        Must be the same year as my trouble-free 1974 TORONADO!
        Make Oldsmobile Great Again. . .

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Shouldn’t building a more competitive and higher quality product apply to all markets and not just the Japanese? The quality of American brand vehicles has improved drastically over what it was 20 or more years ago. Could it still improve? Yes but give credit where credit is due. Look at the Mustang, the full size American trucks, and cars like the Chevy Impala which are drastically better than they were even a few years ago. The problem with Japan is that they have an aging population with not a lot of potential for large growth. Also the US does not make Kei cars and most of the compact and subcompact cars that US manufacturers make are based on European or South Korean cars with many even being made overseas and designed overseas. Most of our US base cars and trucks are too big for Japanese roads. Yes it is possible to be more competitive in Japan but is it worth the expense and could the resources be better utilized in China, India, and other Asian countries with younger populations and more potential for growth? Quality alone will not get you there but you need quality to get customer loyalty and repeat business.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    “Tax structure”.

    It’s not realistic to expect other countries to widen the roads or cut their fuel taxes to accommodate our large, profligate trucks.

    On the other hand, like Harley Davidson motorcycles, there are quite a few Asians who would be happy to buy a Firebird or a Mustang or a Cadillac or Lincoln.

    So when our ostensible “allies” tax laws are clever enough to punitively tax vehicles over 2 liters displacement, that effectively shuts out US-based carmakers. Or when there is a tax on cars that over over 70 inches wide.

    If they want to do that, fine. Then the US govt should find clever ways of keeping out THEIR products.

    How about a safety tax on vehicles weighing less than 3,500 lbs?

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  • Art Vandelay: Isn’t this the most powerful motor Ford has ever installed in any vehicle wearing Bronco badges?
  • SCE to AUX: Yep, this option won’t be free. It’ll push the car’s price into the high 30s, with very...
  • Arthur Dailey: When you have 3 children you truly appreciate having 3 rows. The aero rooflines of modern...

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  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
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