By on June 8, 2018

While the Japanese government has walked on eggshells when discussing trade issues that are transforming the globe into an angry beehive, the nation’s automakers have been more forthright. However, they’re both getting increasingly vocal as the situation escalates.

As the United States and Japan head into trade discussions scheduled for July, it’s beginning to look like everyone will come out swinging — especially when it comes to the automotive industry. Last month, the White House launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new tariffs on some of Japan’s biggest U.S.-bound exports.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso was uncharacteristically negative toward the current U.S. trade policy during a Group of Seven finance leaders’ gathering held last week. “It’s deeply deplorable,” Aso said. “Inward-looking policies involving one-sided, protectionist measures benefit no country.”

President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs were already blow to the island nation. But, as Japan isn’t even close to being the United States’ largest steel supplier, those import duties would have nothing on the potential tariffs on automobiles. Japanese manufacturers build a staggering amount of vehicles inside the United States. According to Reuters, 3.8 million Japanese-branded cars were produced inside the U.S. in 2017. Another 1.7 million were exported from Japan to adequately serve the world’s second largest car market.

On Friday, Japanese automakers association JAMA criticized America’s decision to explore the raising of tariffs on auto exports. “The investigation launched by the United States Department of Commerce to determine the effects on national security of imports of automobiles … will create uncertainty among automobile users in the U.S. and people involved in the motor vehicle industry,” said Akio Toyoda, chairman of JAMA and president of Toyota Motor Corp.

Lobbying groups representing domestic manufacturers, which also import cars from foreign factories, have taken a similar stance. Few in the industry are excited by the prospect of tariffs. Even though the White House is targeting other countries in the hopes of gaining some bargaining leverage, import tariffs would affect them, too.

This is something the president seems aware of. Prior to his inauguration, he expressed anger toward domestic manufacturers that left the United States to set up shop elsewhere. “Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its products back into the U.S. without retribution or consequences, is WRONG!” he said on social media. “There will be a tax on our soon-to-be strong border of 35 percent for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units, etc., back across the border.”

Trump criticized China’s high import duties on automobiles and the way the country forces joint-partnerships on businesses hoping to sell at a meaningful volume. Likewise, both General Motors and Ford have taken some criticism for setting up factories within The People’s Republic. Both wanted access to the region as it morphed into the world’s largest auto market. You could argue that Buick faced death if it didn’t find a place for itself in China.

For what it’s worth, China promised to reduce import tariffs on cars this summer and said it would eventually open up its market by eliminating the need for joint partnerships. However, Ford and GM have the least to gain when that happens, as they’ve already set up shop in that country.

Japan is a different beast. With the possible exception of the Jeep brand, American cars are little more than a novelty there — and it’s not because of tariffs. While the United States imposes a relatively small 2.5-percent import fee on all foreign-built cars (and 25 percent on trucks), Japan has no import duties whatsoever. Japanese consumers hesitate to purchase U.S. built vehicles due to assumption that they are still built to Malaise-era quality specifications and are a little too big to be practical. While the former is incorrect, the stigma remains. American manufacturers have proven hesitant spend the kind of money required to fix the problem.

In addition converting vehicles to right-hand drive, domestic manufacturers would then need to spend a bundle on a marketing push to prove its vehicles are desirable, while investing in a dealer network where they can be purchased. The cost for that would be astronomical for such a small market, especially since the Japanese expect free maintenance. That’s no guarantee for success. General Motors operated about 30 shops in Japan before it pulled out of the country, but it only delivered about 1,000 vehicles in 2016.

[Image: Toyota]

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117 Comments on “Trade War Watch: Japan Gets Vocal Over U.S. Tariff Threats...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    American auto executives have proven weak willed about selling US built cars overseas in any numbers. They seem to fold after they don’t get instant success. This leads the consumers in those markets hesitant to trust the brand when the next executive tries to reintroduce the brand again.

    These days Ford and GM at least have competitive cars that they could sell anywhere in the world, but they still lack the intestinal fortitude to put forth the effort needed to sell cars in markets like Japan.

    As for the general question about tariffs and trade deals, these other countries are crying about Trump’s protectionism, yet most enjoy trade surpluses with the US and have higher tariffs on imported US goods than the tariffs the US puts on the goods we import from them. So they are just mad that their gravy train might be ending.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      dwford,
      How does the Japanese penalise the US?

      The biggest area the Japanese use tariffs is farming, especially rice. But the US does the same with corn, sugar.

      Pharma, globally the US model forces the consumer to pay ridiculous prices.

      Steel and metals. Many US companies did not modernise mills like the competition.

      I think in most cases of trade the US needs to find ways to improve.

      Sort of like, the US is now the country behind the 8 ball.

      Why should the world adopt the less competitive US manufacturing model?

      Just because a country used to lead and is falling behind doesn’t make it unfair.

      The US has given little away and as this article states American business set up shop in many countries. Remember these very companies sell globally.

      Maybe its America that’s the main problem.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Al–
        As an American that reads much of what you post, but has never engaged:

        Just shut up about us.

        Thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          redapple

          Neon

          Right on brother. My thoughts too.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Why should he? Plenty of us enjoy his perspective.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          iNeon,
          Thanks for your input.

          But it seems many can’t see the forest through the trees regarding how and why the US is where it is.

          You’ve probably noticed I sit neither left or right. The US does many things good, except at the moment the US is mismanaged. That is my view.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Big Al from Oz – “You’ve probably noticed I sit neither left or right.”

            Actually, you tend to sit more to the right but Australian right of center like Canadian right of center is a different animal than USA right of center.
            Canadians and Australians sitting to the right are more accepting of typically leftish ideals like universal health care.

            I tend to see myself as more centrist from a Canadian point of view but in the USA I’d definitely be out to the left end of the political spectrum.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            But, how can anyone view a basic human right of adequate medical attention as left or right? This is not political, its being himan and empathetic.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Big Al from Oz – “This is not political, its being human and empathetic.”

            I agree 100% but to many it is a political viewpoint to many.

            This GOP Senator had this to say,” Americans have a right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom, and that’s it. “Past that point, everything else is a limited resource that we have to use our opportunities given to us to afford those things,” he said. In other words, Americans don’t have a right to health care, food, clothing, or shelter.”

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            @Big Al from Oz
            “But, how can anyone view a basic human right of adequate medical attention as left or right?”

            Adequate medical attention is NOT a basic human right. A blank cheque from other people can never be a basic human right, or the system will be destined to fail.

            IMO, basic human rights are ones that, when fulfilled by all (and reciprocally), don’t break the system. For example, the right to live, the right to mate, are OK in this regard.

            I would classify any advocacy of unsustainable social welfare as being “left”.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            wsn,
            Your comments reek of error.

            Anything unsustainable is not “forever”. WTF?

            What is unsustainable welfare?

            Your auto industry, EVs, etc have had decades of welfare and protection and yet you will not offer this to the people? Your corn farmers exist on “agri welfare”, your sugar farmers.

            Why would you not help another person who requires medical assistance. Man, are you for real?

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Wow, what ever happened to, “Free speech”?

          I don’t always agree with Big Al but the dude has a right to say what he wants as long as he isn’t personally attacking anyone on this blog.

        • 0 avatar
          Whatnext

          iNeon, the classic little america Trump-lover.

        • 0 avatar
          jrhurren

          “Shut up” is what you say when you have no argument but don’t like what you’re hearing. Trying changing your mind or thinking harder instead

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – Then why is the EU so deathly afraid of lowering its vehicle import tariffs?

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Big Al from Oz

        Agricultural- the U.S. exports about as much agricultural product as the rest of the world combined. We pay farmers to take land out of production & convert part of their crop to ethinol to keep prices from colapsing.

        Pharma – long term testing, to prove drugs are safe and effective, does drive up the cost of medication in the U.S. often the same drugs are sold cheaper in other countries where that is not required.

        Metals- the U.S. mills have modernized. Still extracting metals from ores and recycling requires a large amount of energy. Metals shipped from countries with high enery costs is proof of dumping.

        Protectionism – longterm protected industries consume more and more of a countrys assets. Driving out other industries. Countries that don’t practice protectionism end up with very diverse economies. While countries like Japan & Germany produce autos and not much else.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Peter,
          The US is the largest agri exporter, but not by much. The Netherlands is the 2nd largest with 2/3 the export value. The US might represent 1/10 of agri exports.

          Your “pharma” line is straight from the US Pharma handbook of marketing. Why can the rest of the world research and produce cheaper?

          US steel mill operators did sell out, not because of tariffs, but because of shareholders wanting money back to re-invest.

          The US economy is mixed, meaning there is a fusion of protectionist measures and capitalism. It is as free as most OECD countries. There are 6 recognised free economies.

          I have yet hear Trump or anyone mention US tariffs and non tariff barriers.

          The US has a good economy right now, but like with agri exports, many in the US don’t realise the world has expanded.

          The US economy is the biggest, but not as dominant. The world has become more competitive and the US needs to step up to the plate and play ball.

          The US will not get as much or control as much as in the past as others, many more are chasing the same dream.

          Under Trump the US can cause problems and angst easily, but so does Nth Korea with an economy the size of a large country town. This is not illustrate power, any country can disrupt.

          Trump needs to execute his power responsibly, not like a spoilt child. The US ac only lose out.

        • 0 avatar
          Ce he sin

          “While countries like Japan & Germany produce autos and not much else.”

          While reading that I was thinking that my local Starbucks sells German chocolate so I did a little research.

          Germany’s largest export is motor vehicles which account for about 18% of the total. Let’s assume that this figure also holds good for total manufacturing production. Now, maths wasn’t my strong point in school, but if vehicles make up 18% of exports it follows that 82% is due to other activities. But that isn’t all. Google tells me that services account for 70% of German economic activity and manufacturing a little over 20%. So there we have it. Vehicles account for 18% of 20% of activity in Germany, or less than 4%. You didn’t think you could be so wrong, did you?
          You can do your own research for Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      “As for the general question about tariffs and trade deals, these other countries are crying about Trump’s protectionism, yet most enjoy trade surpluses with the US and have higher tariffs on imported US goods than the tariffs the US puts on the goods we import from them.”

      It’s like they don’t even read the articles they’re commenting on anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Groovypippin

      A couple of points.

      1) The US has one of the largest consumer markets in the world. It stands to reason that it will important than it exports to just about any other country. Using that as a metric is ludicrous. The US has 350 million people, Canada has 35 million. How is Canada (or just about any other country) supposed to trade at an exactly equal value? Answer, they can’t because it’s impossible.

      2) There is a huge imbalance of trade between Canada and Central America on bananas. Central American countries buy literally no bananas from Canada but Canada buys hundreds of millions of dollars in bananas from Central America every year. This is intolerable, no? No, it isn’t. Canadians want to eat bananas so they are grown elsewhere and sold in Canada. It’s awesome. I get to eat bananas and people get paid to grow them and supply them to me. Looking at trade as a purely zero sum game is ludicrous for this and many. many other reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Grovvypippin,
        You are spot on in your assessment.

        Add to this the US has had decades of dominance and decided most trade.

        Now the US is confronted with 3 nearly as large economic powers, the EU and China. Then add to that other significant trading countries and regions, ie, Japan, SE Asia/Australia and the US position weakens.

        Now, from an automotive perspective other than the US most all products are interchangable, using common design standards, similar FE and even vehicle size and type(pickups and other commercial vehicles). Even overall vehicle quality is better (percieved or not).

        The US needs to integrate by changing to the metric system, adopting UNECE vehicle regulations. Even aviation regulations globally is moving and aligning to EASA standards.

        Thete is more going on than tariffs that is negatively impacting US trade.

        The USD is the current global standard, but the Euro has taken a slice of this with the Chinese wanting the yuan to become a benchmark trading currency soon.

        I can foresee the US financial power reducing over the next couple of decades as well.

        The US fighting and opposing the current global shift in trade, finance and business will only place the US in a less influential position. The US needs to facilitate these changes to fully appreciate is power globally.

        The Big 3 need to produce competive cars within the US for export. But because of what I mentioned above has hamstrung US auto producers.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      Interestingly, Japan, a country which imposes no tariffs on imported cars, buys almost none from the US. The US, which imposes import tariffs on cars, buys many cars from Japan. How do you propose ending this “gravy train”? I guess the logical solution that US makers try making cars that the Japanese want (it works for Mercedes!) is far too simplistic.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        The US car import tariff is 2%, which is negligible in the big picture and certainly wont stop someone from buying a 4Runner if they really want one. The EU does tariff cars heavily (10% + VAT), whereas Japan does not (0%, there is a small weight based import tax).

        I travel to Japan from the US and I can tell you exactly why Japan does not buy US cars:
        – The older generation still has a bone to pick about WWII. This hasn’t gone away in Japan like it has in the US. This is the same reason you don’t see many Mercedes in Israel.
        – The younger generation in Japan is no different than the younger generation in the US when it comes to money and financial stability.
        – There is not a strong dealer network in Japan to service American brand cars.
        – Japan roads are narrow, traffic is generally terrible, the steering wheel is on the right, and most American vehicles simply dont fit well in Japan. The Kei Car is a thing in Japan. Many people drive them. You wont see any of those in the US. Similarly, goods are delivered by Kei trucks in Japan. There are no F350 Duallys pulling trailers full of lumber.
        – Japan is tremendously wealthy, and when a person in Japan can afford it, they move up to Italian sports cars, not Corvettes.
        – Gasoline is ridiculously expensive in Japan.

        I dont think American vehicles will ever sell well in Japan – but I have seen a few in my travels, specifically:
        – 5 Jeep Wranglers. One was really done up with mods and looked like a fat middle finger at the Japanese establishment rolling down the street;
        – 2 Jeep Grand Cherokees

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          SSJeep,
          So, why didn’t you state, “the Japanese tailor vehicles more appealing to a wider global audience than the US”.

          Essentially the Japanese are better at designing, producing and operating more profitably in more countries than US (Big 3) manufacturers.

          Hence, the Japanese are more competive and have a greater chance of success. The very problem we have been discussing about the challenges confronting US (Big 3) made exports.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            Big Al – Because it isn’t true. Japanese vehicles are more appealing to JAPANESE, which was the root of this thread and my point. Which is why American car makers aren’t making any inroads in Japan – their vehicles simply aren’t as desirable to JAPANESE citizens.

            As for a wider global audience, well, globally the Toyota Corolla was the #1 seller in 2017 (and it isnt made in Japan – its either Ontario, Mississippi USA or Mexico)… That said, the Chevrolet Cruze and the Ford Focus were in the top ten, so I cannot unequivocally say that the Japanese automakers are more competitive and have a better chance of success. Both Japanese and US manufacturers are represented in the top ten globally. Strangely, Euro manufacturers are not.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            SSJeep,
            I do believe Japanese (Asians) Manufacturer serve every continent better than any other vehicle manufacturing nation.

            The Germans (EU) second and the US behind Korea.

            The US is only successful in the more protected markets. I would like to see how GM and Ford perform if the Chinese open their markets more.

            As the EU has been opening their markets GM and Ford seem to be finding it more challenging, to the point GM folded in the EU.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Where has the EU been “…opening their markets”?

            And while you’re at it, go ahead and list all meaningful car markets, more open to foreign autos, and with a bigger selection of brands, models and classes of vehicles than the US…

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ Ce he sin

        Japan is the auto producing country with the lowest rate of non-domestic market penetration. People who believe this is excusable under the false pretense that only Japanese auto manufacturers know how to build cars for Japan is incredibly foolish, and it beggars belief that people continue to fall for it. Japan has created a regulatory framework that gives preference to their manufacturers. Similarly, they buy US dollars at an extraordinary rate to give Americans a preference for Japanese-built automobiles.

        People need to understand the game instead of making up hypothetical nonsense about fairness and the banana trade.

  • avatar
    33873

    trump did the same thing with NK, rile everybody up right before entering talks. The world didn’t melt into nuclear war with NK and our economy won’t fall with a trade war either. Just let him do his thing and judge him on results. Don’t let the main stream news convince you the sky is falling.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      33873,
      Yes Trump is riling everyones and coming across as unreliable.

      You explain how this places the US in a better position. Remember the US now signs to contracts and agreements, then doesn’t commit, ie “walks away”.

      Contries will become less inclined to commit to anything the US wants. The US will gradually lose influence, money and jobs. Remember most of the current US economic growth was not generated by Trump, but his predecessors.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Your lack of familiarity with US politics leads you astray. The US doesn’t sign agreements with other countries, the President and State Department diplomats do. The President is supposed to submit such agreements as treaties to the Senate, but in a number of cases has not.

        Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol, but after the Senate voted 95-0 they would not approve it, he didn’t submit it. Obama signed the Paris Agreement but didn’t submit it. He also entered an agreement with Iran but didn’t submit it. He further had the State Department negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement but it hasn’t been submitted.

        All these agreements must be approved by the Senate before the US is committed, otherwise any president could negotiate poor agreements and the nation would be bound by them.

        As for what Trump is doing, he’s not starting a trade war with tariffs, he’s negotiating by creating roadblocks that he will give up for the right agreement. Presidents and diplomats have been giving up too much, just to get an agreement.

        Trump is a better negotiator: when Rocketman threatened to cancel the summit, hoping America would cave to concessions ahead of the meeting, Trump beat him to the punch and canceled it, putting the Norks on notice that he wasn’t playing their games. What’s upsetting to our trade partners is that the game has changed, and they will have to give something up to keep access to the US market.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Lorenzo,
          Irrespective of my knowledge regarding the US political system the US is walking away from commitments.

          As for “The Trump Effect” on the US, this will come into play around 2020. You will see how his tax cuts, additional borrowings, etc impact the US negatively.

          Add to this the nreaking down of US relations with Allies and friends will take years to rebuild the loss in US confidence.

          Currently many world leaders views the current US junta as an obstacle to global progression.

          Trump has caused long term damage to the US. His reality show style might impress you, but you don’t conduct business, let alone diplomacy as he does without long term pain.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Year in and year out, surveys and polls tell automakers and dealerships what consumers will and won’t pay for. Car forum consumers come into auto dealerships looking for brown, diesel, manual transmission station wagons.

            Then the dealership offers them a heck of a deal on an in-stock sedan with an automatic transmission and they take it without second thought.

            My point is: What people say they want and what they ultimately do are often in opposition.

            The various nation state politicos are going to say a *lot* of things, but when the right deal comes along, it’ll be puppies and rainbows.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Lorenzo – Trump cancelling TPP shows that he is clueless at international relations. TPP was designed to isolate China and shift at least 50% of Pacific trade to/through the USA.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @ Lou_BC

            Sure. Just like NAFTA is making North America stronger and more unified when dealing with other trade unions and trade areas.

            Don’t be gullible. Every “free trade” agreement involving the US is designed to allow outsiders to manipulate the members so they can gain access to the US market. TPP was no different.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Lou_BC –

            In the sense that I want to see China isolated, I’m concerned. However, TPP was bad for everyone involved – especially when it came to transparency and labor protections.

            The law was written by business (no shock there) and was more of a laundry list of corporate wet dreams than a real trade deal that would have benefitted countries. Notice I said ‘countries’ and not ‘citizens’.

            I’m all for the US and EU forming a bloc that keeps China in check, but TPP wasn’t it. It was right to kill it because it had no hope of passage and wasn’t good for people.

            I’ve said it before – if one wants to argue on moral grounds (which is really the only way to garner widespread support), then what the US and EU should do is to collectively say, “Hey China, here’s the deal: you steal our intellectual property, shamelessly copy it, you allow for the exploitation of human capital and have very limited environmental controls. The combination of these things gives you the ability to significantly undercut our domestic producers. We do not support the exploitation of labor or the environment. As such, we will be implementing an environmental and labor excise tax on all Chinese goods in an effort to persuade the Chinese government to improve their environment and the well being of its citizens.”

            Sit back and watch heads explode.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @hreardon – I agree with everything you said. FTA’s are designed to benefit the 1%. Very little of that wealth trickles down to the middle or lower class.

            I do agree that one should level the playing field based upon moral grounds.

            Ironically, western corporations got in bed with the Chinese because it is more profitable to avoid the cost of moral and ethical behavior when it comes to worker health and safety and environmental stewardship.

            FTA’s are signed because countries agree to concessions in one area to gain opportunity in another. It is rather niave to believe that the USA is being fleeced by other countries.

            It is much easier for Trump and his loyal followers to blame other countries than to accept the fact that the current capitalistic business model is functioning as designed which means the middle and lower class are just disposable commodities.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “rile everybody up right before entering talks”

    Ironically, experts say that China and Russia are the only two countries right now that aren’t bothered by Trump’s incoherent foreign policy.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Lou,
      I do believe China is letting Trump self destruct. He has done this on a few occassions with his own business.

      Everytime Trump opens his mouth with his clan of goons behind him US credibility declines.

      Its quite sad sitting outside and watching what’s going on within the US and listening to other people state how poor the US is becoming as a friend. Canada is still quite central and apart of the US.

      It would be ironic if Canada adopts UNECE vehicle regs and stops the sale of US vehicles. No tariff is needed. This would open a bigger can of worms than tariffs.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        That I’d like to see them try, lol! Canada will end up buckling, just like the others. The U.S. market is too important, and Canada enjoys a $15 billion trade surplus with the U.S. They’ll actually be begging in the end.

        Thank God we finally have a leader who isn’t afraid and selling out our interests.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Superdessucke,
          Why do you expect subservience from Canada?

          I’m seeing this in some comments here regarding the US.

          As I’ve stated the US is entering a new era where its dominance is waning.

          The US under Trump can cause significant global tension, but don’t confuse this with power. Even p!ssy little country that’s GDP is that of a large country town (North Korea) causes global angst.

          Remember, its how you execute your influence, not how disruptive you can use your influence.

          As with any circle of friends, there’s seems to be one asshole, he’s eventually discounted. Where does the US sit under Trump?

        • 0 avatar
          cprugby

          It’s actually the US that enjoys a surplus with Canada…but the US stills wants more?!

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Thank God we finally have a leader who isn’t afraid and selling out our interests.”

          You are correct that he is “selling out our interests” by pandering to angry white guys, wealthy billionaire white guys and and himself and family. The verdict is still out on Russia.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            “…he is selling out our interests by pandering to angry white guys, wealthy billionaire white guys…” Much like the left does with self-hating “white guys”. It’s called identity politics and it swings both ways, in fact it’s the very essence of American politics right now. The fact that you felt it necessary to use the term “white guys” twice in one sentence tells me that you are being intellectually lazy. BTW, there are billionaires who aren’t “white guys” who also profited from Obama’s stock market, which performed well during his tenure. “Angry white guys” is dismissive and lends nothing to a discussion. Please try harder.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          Superdessucke, Canada has a trade deficit with Canada, not a surplus. Your ideological bias apparently blinds you to reality.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Sub-600 – if you look at the demographics of Trump’s core supporters, they are predominantly white middle class older males. Trump got elected because he knew there was a very large group of voters angry with the corrupt status quo.
            Why should I be called “intellectually lazy” when your potus is as “intellectually lazy” as they come.
            Would you prefer “incensed sub-collegiate upper middle-aged middle-class xenophobic Caucasians of European ancestry”?

  • avatar
    redapple

    Trump may go down in history as one of our best presidents ever.

    That is, if the weaponized FBI(Stasi) plot doesnt drag him out of office before 8 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      “I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling investigators.”

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Freddie pulls off the mask – the whole gang all at once: “MR. TRUMP?!?!?!”

        “JINKIES!”

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ Astigmatism

        Do you remember when one of Bill Clinton’s first acts as president was to fire the sitting director of the FBI? Of course you don’t. That was an interesting move for a family of people who’d been under investigation for all sorts of felonious conduct throughout their adult lives. I’m sure you’ve noticed the accusations have never abated. In fact, they’ve become more sensational every time the Clinton-FBI “debunks” one of the previous allegations.

        To suspect Trump is the most likely person behind the mask is to indulge in an extreme form of self-loathing. I would advise against it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Looks like someone spends way too much time watching Faux News.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Trump is rated as the worst ever so far. Think about it…he doesnt read and watches fox news until 11 am every day.
      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-worst-president-presidential-greatness-survey-presidents-day-obama-george-washington-a8218721.html

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        Obama was the worst ever. Foreign student at Harvard (although he had a “Hawaiian” birth certificate, Born in Hawaii, although he has a Connecticut Social Security number, our first post-racial president, although he did nothing to improve race relations, and in fact set race relations back 50 years, an alleged Christian, although he did nothing but promote the Muslum Brotherhood and muslum causes, who SAVED the economy, although the so-called recovery was worse for many than the recession, because the only people that he actually helped were his friends in a few unions, and he likewise didn;t do nuthin’ to help his own people except give them HOPE (and Obama-phones). America had no victories under Obama. Despite his Nobel prize. LOL This proves that Hope is not a plan.
        Under Trump, employment is up, notably for blacks and Hispanics, due in part to an income tax cut, and there may be an end coming for the 68 year-old Korean War. In about 500 days in office, he has already done more than Obama did in eight years.
        Trump the worst ? Not by a long shot.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Trump may go down in history as one of our best presidents ever.”

      I kinda wonder if he meant to say that Stormy Daniels going down on a President Elect was one of the best performances ever?

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Most people that read this site probably appreciate Big Al’s sometimes contrary views. Just because he does’t ape the words of your master does not mean he should “shut up.”
    Before its all over you might wish you could live in Australia too, although they probably would not want any trumpsters.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Meh, I have a marketable skill set…I bet they would and if they didn’t I’d have no problem finding some place that would. Not that I have any reason to leave…you may have noticed our employment situation is fairly good and my field is absolutely booming. I actually came on here to read about that Alfa I am considering buying and found a bunch of loons arguing about politics.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Art Vandelay – you expected to find a discussion about an Alfa on a political thread? Calling people a bunch of loons fits the old adage,” pot meet kettle”.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAFO – Actually US vehicles sell well enough “globally”, to out perform all others, if profitability is of “any concern”, followed by German vehicles, then Japanese vehicles, regardless of sales volume leadership.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ zipster

        If you understood what BAFO stands for, you’d be repulsed. He is basically advocating for the perpetuation and expansion of the economic arrangement that caused the Great Recession and Global Credit Crisis. In many ways, this arrangement is nothing more than neo-mercantile colonialism, which has been rebranded for mass consumption by unwitting imbeciles, and which the United States political establishment protects because it makes our banking and investment sector the wealthiest on earth.

        People who support the status quo are Victorian slavers trying to stop global abolition. They’ll get the memo eventually.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Thanks Zipster,
      I’m actually quite passionate and Pro Amercian, or I wouldn’t be passing judgement like I do.

      The US still has much potential, and I don’t think it’s to late to correct the wrongs committed by Trump.

      I like US vehicles, they would even be better if build quality improves to be comparable to EU and Asian built stuff.

      I also see in the US a country that is telling all we are “the US” and if you don’t like how and what we drive, tough. But, you then on the other hand state it’s not fair that no one wants to buy enough of our vehicles.

      Just because it’s US doesn’t mean much and it’s no different for the Japanese, Germans, Koreans and Chinese.

      US (Big 3) vehicles don’t sell well in the global market. My view is, if you want to sell something to a customer build what they want. Don’t just say this is it and you will buy it. That seem to be Trump’s line.

      • 0 avatar
        pdog_phatpat

        Oh geeeeeeeeeeeeeeez….

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – Tell us more about this “EU quality” you speak so highly of, keeping in mind Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Porsche, etc, aren’t any where near Europe’s top volume leaders.

        Then there’s European “reliability” which is a whole other topic…

  • avatar
    Manic

    Couple of days back there was news that there’s more jobs now available than registered jobless. Skills mismatch and all that.
    So who would make all the crap US now imports from abroad, esp. from China, in the US of A? And at the same price level too…

    http://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/05/there-are-more-jobs-than-people-out-of-work.html

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You realize we used to make all that cheap crap ourselves? There was a company that made corn straw brooms in Ohio. It’s a low margin low-tech product that could employ high school dropouts.

      Under NAFTA, the company could survive only by moving its factory to Mexico, even though it had to import the corn straw, wood handles, and wire from the US. The diplomats didn’t give it a second thought, since it was low tech and could employ Mexicans who otherwise might come north.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Lorenzo,
        Like agriculture, manufacturing is changing.

        Believe it or not you are incorrect as to why broom manufacture moved to Mexico, just as clothing manufacture moved to Central America, South and SE Asia.

        What you consider more advanced manufacture is cheaply automated. Materials such as textiles, corn “husks” etc require more brain power to manipulate. We don’t have automated machines yet to manipulate those materials. The human brain can process more accurately the many inconsistencies in visualising and manipulating highly variale material to produce desired outcomes.

        What I’m stating is we don’t have technology yet to produce clothing as cheaply as humans. Soon, yes.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Does anyone really think American consumers will really flock back enmasse to the rump left of what was once the Big 3? Let the Japanese manufacturers pull their plants out of the USA and American consumers can enjoy paying more for Japanese cars built in Japan.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Almost every country has some sort of trade barriers to protect it’s home grown interests. The US, as I understand it, is fairly open, but not without barriers. China is easily the worst offender. Not only are trade policies quite skewed in their favor, they steal like crazy. Every sucessful web based business in the US has been ripped off by the Chinese. That’s not to say there is no innovation in China, but they do not treat us well at all, and often don’t even try to hide the IP theft, patent infringment, etc.

    Think for a moment though about America’s silicon valley. It dominates the world, maybe not forever, but right now. That, Fininancial businesses and agriculture are things we have very successfully traded abroad. What if chrome, Android, windows, iOs, Facebook, etc were severely curbed in other markets. It would be devastating…both to us and the markets they serve.

    I think the reality is, each country or trading block has to be weighed. None of us know ALL the regulations, treaties, etc that US goods are subject to and conversely, what ALL the US subjects foreign goods to from various countries.

    Clearly, China is not a fair player, I don’t know that any of us can really say the same about any other country when the big picture is examined. We only see the things that are played up by politicians, special interests and the media.

    Personally, I think…especially when it comes to our friends/allies, a softer approach is warranted. There is more to these relationships than dollars and cents.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I never brought up politics.

    But since we’re here: buy/burn/sell laura/michelle/melania

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Ridiculously expensive fuel is a huge trade barrier, along with taxing by size/displacement of engines, and of course wrong-hand-drive, even if not explicitly aimed at US automakers.

    But Toyota and any automaker already assembling most of their autos within the US/NAFTA, have more to gain than lose, by having less competition, and no doubt, less competitive “import” foreign competition.

    Toyoda is obligated to appear annoyed and angry, but has to be secretly licking his chops.

    In fact The Big 3 have the least to gain from increased tariffs since most of the brands they directly compete with (each other mostly) are already built in the US/NAFTA.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      I’m intrigued by the phrase “wrong-hand-drive”. I’ve come across vehicles with the wheel on the left, in the middle and on the right, though thus far I’ve only managed to drive vehicles from two of these categories.

      Which of those would you categorise as “wrong-hand-drive” and why?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It makes it a wrong market for painfree export. Otherwise the rest of the regulatory stuff should be a cinch. The global Mustang should be easy enough to export there, but what exactly keeps it from Japan?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Ford

        • 0 avatar
          Ce he sin

          So you’re suggesting – though you haven’t actually answered the question – that rhd makes a market “wrong”. That’s intriguing. Ford, who are based in a lhd country, have had a substantial market share in the UK and Australia for many decades. Last time I checked both these countries were rhd.
          Speaking of the UK, the only western maker that doesn’t sell there at the moment is GM and that’s only because they sold their local subsidiary. They abandoned dozens of lhd markets at the same time. Putting these facts together I can only conclude that markers aren’t in the least concerned about where they install steering wheels.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Maybe Japan would like to explain why their central bank, corporations, and citizens still hold over $1T in US treasuries. They are basically neck-and-neck with China to see who can manipulate spot exchange rates most.

    Japan is going to awake the sleeping giant again, if they don’t make better decisions. Running the same game as the Chinese is not how you signal to the United States your legitimacy as a G7 trading partner.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      TW5,
      You are not talking manufacture. Sooner or later countries will not invest in US Treasuries. When this occurs the US will take a hit.

      So, you should be thankful others are buying those Treasuries and hope they sell into the future.

      With the $80 billion a month QE money, maybe the US Government should of bought those Treasuries. But, hey, the money went to Wall St and lots moved off shore to foreign markets.

      But your mate Trump is softening banking and finance regulations. When the US economy fncks up again, people like you will blame all but yourselves for ruining an economy.

      “How can we be at fault, everyone is using use”. This seems to be your style. If you can’t have you will try your damnest to stop others having. You are really sad.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        The spot exchange rates are related to the location of manufacture. That’s why China and Japan are so heavily invested in dollars. The dollar stays artificially high and their currency stays artificially low. This gives their economy export preference; therefore, it becomes the situs of manufacture.

        Furthermore, the US government is selling treasuries to generate funds. The government isn’t going to buy treasuries from itself.

        I question whether you understand anything that is happening in the world. You seem genuinely clueless as to how all of the pieces fit together. The idea that the US is uncompetitive is a narrative built to deceive. The reality of the global economy is people buying dollars and lobbying against fair trade practices to maintain a constant flow of American offshoring and a constant flow of cheap imports into the United States.

        There is no need for this system, and it’s dangerously artificial. It was a major part of the Great Recession.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          TW5,
          Goverments do buy their own bonds/treasuries.

          Rather the way the US/EU tried bolstering their economies, Australia dumped cash into the citizens bank accounts.

          I got 4 grand! The money started at the bottom and worked up. No propping of industry. As we splurged consumption rose, quickly.

          We also reduced and now have ine of the 6 free global economies. These economies have weathered the GFC and are out performing the more socialist/protectionist economies, ie EU and USA.

          I really think you are about control via reduced freedoms, very American you are.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @ Big Al from Oz

            They don’t buy their own bonds at the time of offering. Don’t be a pedant.

            Australia has relatively balanced trade as a matter of public policy. Shame you don’t think Americans should be allowed to have the same. Your version of “American freedom” is a constant -3% drag on GDP, which policymakers offset by running $1T federal deficits.

            Sick.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            TW5,
            I think you’ll find Australia has a huge trade imbalance with US. Worse than anything occurring in the US with China.

            We are not crying about lower US wages, poorer work conditions, etc.

            So, from your perspective we should tax American product coming to Australia.

            The reality is America is more competitive in areas of trade.

            This is how you should look at it.

  • avatar
    ernest

    Canada’s economy is smaller than many US States. Italy’s in seemingly perpetual financial and political chaos. Germany’s largest bank is… “troubled,” and it’s domestic political establishment is in deep trouble. The EU itself is on the path of slow disintegration… It’s very clear the G7 Group isn’t going to be solving any problems for us. They will decry the death of “free trade,” when factually it was a managed system of trade to everyone’s benefit but the US.

    Someone had to say it.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      ernest,
      Only California has a bigger economy than Canada. Even the Australian economy would be in the top 4 or 5 in the US.

      The EU is not going through the pains the US is. As the British are finding out multilateral trade within the EU served them well.

      The EU does have issues, but those issues occur when nations don’t manage. I believe some EU democracies, as the US should, review their Constitutions. Modernise. Even the Australian constitution should modernise.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Japan is an interesting case, from a sociological standpoint anyway. Japan’s population is roughly 97% ethnic Japanese, yet they’re a global economic force. How is this possible? How can a homogeneous nation overcome a total lack of diversity? According to progressive liberals, they should have crumbled, both culturally and economically, a long time ago. It must be another one of those liberal “statistical anomalies”.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      And they have no birth right citizenship along with every other industrialized country besides the US and Canada. Surely Japan should have been reduced to a backwater subsistence economy whose people are in constant warfare over the smallest economic advantage they can gain from the village down the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        @TwoBelugas

        I’ve seen conservatives building underground shelters preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. Stupidity doesn’t limit itself to one political party.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Conservative? What’s that? Oh, weren’t those the guys that used to run around talking about free trade, limited government spending, high moral standards, lowering the deficit, and free trade? What happened to those guys?

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Sub-600

      Liberals say you need a population of a few thousand individuals to keep genetic defects in check. Japan has 123 million.

      Conservatives say fuh-king your sister is ok, as long as you’re a good Christian.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Is that what you think passes for keeping a brave face when reality laughs at your ideology? I’ve actually seen liberal zombies post articles about how the Japanese look after one another, their pubic spaces are courteous and clean, etc… I’ll give you a hint; the reason isn’t because they’re not Christians.

    • 0 avatar
      pbx

      Japan’s population has been in decline for the last 7 years. Japan has the lowest birth rate of any nation on earth. Finding people to fill jobs in a nation with an aging population is causing great economic harm. Retirement is highly discouraged.

      The population is forecast to fall to about 83 million by 2100, with 35% of Japanese aged over 65. Current population is 127,185,332

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Japan is falling apart. Negative population growth and a debt-to-GDP ratio similar to Greece. They also seem unable to solve their real estate shortage issues, and families are taking on multi-generational mortgages.

      Regardless, it has nothing to do with the racial composition of the country, and a lot to do with their inability to transition from developing to developed economy. They still behave like their manufacturing sector will be in perpetual surplus for generationas because they are scientifically-advanced, prudent decisions makers. Reality is that they buy as many federal bonds as China to subsidize Japanese exports to the US.

      One way or another, you will find a conventional wisdom to debunk when examining Japan.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    The Japanese are right look at the JD power survey and you can see that Jeep, Chrysler and Cadillac are some of the worst performing brands.

    Interesting that the same survey in the U.K. produces very different results, Volvo is second from top and Audi and BMW are bottom

    • 0 avatar
      pdog_phatpat

      I dont think Jeep, Chrysler and Cadillac being some of the worst performing brands is exactly earth shattering.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      @Tstag

      BMW & Audi’s biggest sellers are lightly equipped 3 series and A4s. Not much to go wrong in base model compacts.

      The average Cadillac buyer spends $15k on options, and they do sell a good number of Escalades.

      Jeep sells a large number of off-roaders to people who actually use the vehicles off-road
      Honda & Toyota sell well in the perfect weather conditions of California.
      The average Lexus buyer is over 60.

      Brand reliability studies don’t mean $#!+.

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      I must have been incredibly lucky all these decades since I have only owned products from ‘unreliable‘ brands and I have never had any major problems that were expensive and time-consuming to fix.

      My last car, a nicely equipped 2007 Audi A4 2.0 TDI, was punished daily on the Autobahns averaging over 40,000 km a year and sold in December of 2017 with a little over 650,000 km. The engine, transmission and suspension were still original. Only wear and tear components were replaced, and this included the high-pressure diesel injection pumps (at around 330,000 km if I remember correctly).

      Reliability surveys mean nothing to me. If ‘unreliable’ brands are so terrible, then why do people continue to buy their products, even keeping them long-term?

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        @ThomasSchiffer
        “If ‘unreliable’ brands are so terrible, then why do people continue to buy their products, even keeping them long-term?”

        Because they don’t. At least not in the same market share as before. Just because it’s not 1 to 0 overnight, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

        VW used to have 50% of all US foreign brand market, more the Japanese combined. But now? Even Subaru outsell VW in the US.

        Same with BBA, all that market shares currently occupied by LAI were theirs prior to 1990.

        • 0 avatar
          Ce he sin

          Don’t go assuming that Subaru’s sales in the US are replicated elsewhere. They sell well in part of the US and Canada, and I think Switzerland, but elsewhere? My local Subaru market share is about 0.2% and going nowhere. For what it’s worth, the various VAG companies have steadily increased market share over the past few years.

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          WSN,

          And in my country Subaru is barely a blip on the radar screen. I would not be able to explain to you why Subaru is doing well in the US compared to Volkswagen, but I do know that Subaru is considered a ‘sketchy’ brand when it comes to reliability.

          I have owned mainly cars from the Volkswagen Group, and I am even considering a Skoda Octavia Combi VRS (over a Mazda 6) as a third vehicle. My experiences with VWAG products has been delightful. They are bestsellers in Europe, Asia, South America and so forth. If their products were so dreadful then they would not sell.

          Do not forget that there is a thriving second- and third-hand market for these cars. In Eastern Europe for example they clamor each other to obtain a used car from Volkswagen and other brands. My brother runs a taxi business in Munich. Those high mileage Mercedes are destined for Eastern Europe or Africa after ten to fifteen years of reliable service. Even the few Volkswagen Tourans which he has are highly desired in markets where the purchasing power is weaker. Those regions have a history of purchasing certain brands – which Americans consider ‘unreliable.’

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Europe is just way more tolerant of unreliable cars. But European cars like to eat the expensive stuff like cam shafts, valves, high pressure fuel pumps, transmissions or worse.

            It may just be what Europeans are used to, and EU public transit is an enabler.

            Yeah it’s only a VW, but cost-wise you might as well be working on a Porsche.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            I have no time for unreliable cars or other unreliable products for that matter. Most people want a reliable car; it is illogical to want an unreliable car!

            None of the European cars that I have owned have chewed through my wallet or broken my bank account. They have proven very reliable and durable despite the abuse I put them through. If things broke, it was usually unimportant things that did not affect the drivability of the vehicle and were easily fixed for little money.

            In my country I am legally allowed to speed on the highways and I make use of this freedom. These are speeds which you in North America can only dream about, and this type of driving places enormous stress on the mechanical components of any vehicle. My European cars have performed exemplary in this category.

            By the way, high pressure fuel injectors are a wear and tear item. My 2007 A4 2.0 TDI had them replaced at around 330,000 km. It was even dealer recommended. My European cars have been reliable because I maintained them well and replaced parts that needed replacing.

            How you maintain vehicles in your country is beyond my comprehension, but from what I have heard you do not like to pay for simple inspections or replace worn parts. You wait until they fail and then you blame the car. Here we will generally give a vehicle a thorough inspection every few years and replace worn components whose failure can lead to more systems failure or pose a safety risk. Another advantage of this maintainence ethic is that you spend less money on maintenance than if several components were to fail at once because of neglect.

  • avatar
    manu06

    Harmonized the regulations with Europe and Asia , use tariffs to pay for universal healthcare to lower
    employer costs and call it a day.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Believe this or not, agree or not. This is THE TRUTH.
    The MAIN difference between America and the socialist countries- The United States of America was founded as an experiment in whether or not a country can be governed by its own people. Americans were self-reliant, rugged individualists not wanting or needing a boss, a nanny, or a parent in the form of a government. Our rights were given to us by our Creator, not by any government, governmental agency, legislature, judge, or court. These tenets were written into our Constitution for all to read and see. The job of the government is to protect the citizens from foreign invasions, fraud and theft by criminals, and NOT to “protect” them from themselves. The government is not there to provide anyone with an income, health insurance, or free telephones. The government is not there to spy on its citizens or to regulate what they eat, drink, what medicines they treat themselves with, or what they may legally buy from another citizen or from a store. The government is not there to regulate free speech, or to determine who you will or won’t associate with.
    Over the past one hundred and five years, all of this has been overturned by unConstitutional laws, agency regulations, and court orders. The Bill of Rights has been eviscerated, with the exception of the Amendment barring the quartering of soldiers in the homes of citizens.
    In short, our country has been taken over by a new government class. In 2010, the people elected a Republican House of Representatives to reverse the direction of the country. This did not help. The House DID NOT use to power of the purse to change any policies. So in 2014, voters elected a Republican Senate. Again, the Republicans did nothing to reverse the country’s direction. The velocity of the move to the left was terrifying to the average American (not on either coast). Obama had been purging the military of tens of thousands of officers at a time- the ones who were not with him.
    In 2015, some of those ousted from the military were planning a coup. Many of them knew, however, that a coup would never be accepted even by those who agreed with their motives. A few of their leaders went to Trump and told him of their plan, and asked him to run for President. He thought it over and agreed.
    Many Christians believe that Trump was chosen by Almighty God to turn our country around, and that he could NOT have refused- he is like a modern-day King David, chosen to lead his country. You might say he is on a mission from God.
    Like I said, believe this or not, or agree with it or not. I am posting this so you understand why many feel the way they do about Trump. I know that Donald Trump is not a perfect man, but neither was King David.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      Should have added that the government’s job is also to protect us “from attack” b y criminals, and added that our rights were not given to us by any King, Queen, or religion.
      That happens when trying to summarize something in a short statement.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      ……….OMG………..

      This Christian isn’t one of them!

      “You might say he is on a mission from God.”

      You quoting Elwood Blues?

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Yes, Japan exports a lot more cars to the US than it imports from the US.

    However, how many copies of a Japanese competitor of Microsoft Windows get sold in the US?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      This. The @BAFO types act like cars are all there is. The stroke of a pen shut down China’s largest maker of mobile devices (ZTE). Yes, eventually China could start making chips themselves but it would likely be a decade before they were competitive as a best case scenario.

      But even that works both ways. We can easily build most the stuff we import. We can feed ourselves. There would be a painful adjustment, but we could supply our own energy (remember we have a ton of natural gas we could begin to use as a motor fuel). We have those rare earth metals that are always thrown up, but because of environmental concerns it’s cheaper to get them elsewhere. That would change if the spigot was turned off.

      And with respect to our approaching full employment last I checked there was an awful lot of people who want to come here. We’d have plenty of people to do that work.

      This whole effort to paint the US as weak and circling the toilet bowl is stupid. Especially given how tenuiois the EU is holding together. We can certainly improve in some areas, but at the end of the day we are in decent shape.

      • 0 avatar
        Robbie

        Land in Shanghai; take the Maglev train; what do you see? Giant Caterpillar farm equipment machines – expensive as can be – on a field.

        How many cheap products need to be manufactured in China to pay for one Chinese student going to grad school in the US, or for generating the same profit as is made on a single Iphone?

  • avatar
    carguy

    It seems that politics is the only way TTAC can get 100+ comment on a post these days.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Has Trump been to Japan? It’s a big country but their roads are incredibly narrow and space is at a premium in their cities, too.

    The only suitable American products I can think of for that market would be those small Chevrolet and Ford city cars and perhaps the Chevrolet Cruze. Factor in the equivalent Japanese products for their domestic and those small Chevrolet/Ford cars do not seem that competitive and thus lack appeal.

    American cars in Europe are another story. From my experience, it is not so much the quality that prevents them from selling, it is the belief that they are fuel inefficient and needlessly oversized which limits their appeal. Smaller American cars have actually been quite successful, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Dodge Caliber/Nitro and of course the classic trio of American sports cars (Mustang, Camaro and Challenger). But that is pretty much it.

    Chrysler has been somewhat successful in Europe with their Dodge RAM pickups, which are unusually popular with niche buyers only. Most cost-minded consumers will purchase a more efficient pickup from a Japanese or German manufacturer which can haul almost as much (if not the same) cargo while being easier to maneuver in a small city environment.

    It is my belief that most Europeans consider Ford to be a ‘European’ manufacturer because of their longstanding presence here; Ford UK and Ford Germany. And to my knowledge Ford of Europe designs and engineers vehicles independently of Ford of North America, though I might be wrong.

    GM was on the offensive here in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but their sales were always sluggish. For a short time in the early 1990s, their Dustbuster vans (I believe we got the Pontiac version as an ‘Oldsmobile Trans Sport’) were a ‘daily’ sight, but soon after they all completely disappeared from our roads. If you were really determined you might find one in the back lot of a third-hand used car dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Thomas,
      I see many comments here on TTAC based on assumptions and not reality.

      I do believe the US is currently doing well economically and should restructure to improve it’s position, but not at the expense of it’s friends.

      Just because you want more doesn’t mean your friends are your easy targets, but as we can see with the G6+1 the US is moving closer to becoming totally beligerant in relation to trade.

      The sooner Trump goes the better for the US. Trump disrupts, then wonders why people tell him to fnck off. Watching how he operates you can see why he’s gone broke a few times, losing billions and short changing many.

      I just hope there are enough people in the Republican Party to pull this guy up before he totally fncks over others. But, he doesn’t seem to care or understand how his actions impact others.

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