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Honda Cuts Shipments of Cars from Japan to U.S.

Maker losing money on models like Fit, CR-Z, Insight.

by on Jun.12, 2012

Honda plans to export the Fit subcompact from China to Canada -- at least temporarily.

Honda is cutting exports of the Japanese-made Fit to U.S. dealers because of lopsided exchange rates.

Crushed by lopsided dollar/yen exchange rates, Honda is cutting back on exports from Japan to the U.S., even though that will curb potential sales and market share growth, the maker’s CEO says.

The maker hopes to offset those reductions by ramping up production in the U.S. and other parts of North America.  Honda recently broke ground in Mexico for a new plant that will supply American dealers with the subcompact Fit and possibly other products.

“Under the current exchange rate of 80 yen per dollar, our export business doesn’t make any profit,” Honda Motor Co. CEO Fumihiko Ike told the trade publication Automotive News. “Definitely, the absolute number of exports to the United States will be decreasing.”

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Honda is by no means the only Japanese maker to curb exports to the U.S. as a result of the weak dollar.  And European makers, including BMW and Audi, have also curtailed exports due to lopsided exchange rates – though with the Euro sliding the gap has narrowed in recent weeks for German and other Continental manufacturers.

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Japan Excludes Imports in its Own Clunker Program

U.S. makers cite “outright discrimination.”

by on Dec.11, 2009

Toyota alone captured nearly 20% of the cars sold through the American Cash for Clunkers program, but Japanese lawmakers have excluded American vehicles from their own Clunkers program.

Toyota alone captured nearly 20% of the cars sold through the American Cash for Clunkers program, but Japanese lawmakers have excluded American vehicles from their own Clunkers program.

Like much of the developed world, Japan has been struggling to reverse an economic downturn that has hit hard its long-ailing auto industry.  Sales will barely top 5 million, this year, off nearly half from the country’s one-time car sale peak.

But there have been some signs of life in the wake of recent government incentives, and Japanese auto industry leaders are particularly upbeat about their prospects in light of a new program similar to the federally-funded Cash for Clunkers campaign that sent demand soaring, in the U.S., over the summer.

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Global Auto News!

There’s one big problem, foreign makers contend, citing what they call “outright discrimination.”  The Japanese program is designed specifically to assist home market manufacturers, effectively locking out struggling importers who, for the most part, have long been able to crack the Japanese market.

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