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Japan Opens its Clunkers Program to U.S. Autos

A largely symbolic move reverses ban of offshore makers.

by on Jan.19, 2010

The Cadillac CTS is one of a few Detroit cars likely to gain sales under a new Japanese Clunkers program.

Bowing to heavy pressure, Japanese government regulators have lifted rules that would have barred American automakers from participating in that country’s own version of the Cash for Clunkers program.

The rules were seen as adding insult to injury considering that Japan has largely been closed to foreign makers, who have never been able to capture more than a tiny sliver of the Japanese market.

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Asian importers reacted angrily, a year ago, when the U.S. Congress first considered adding rules to the American clunkers program that might have restricted sales of imports.  Ultimately, Japanese brands accounted for 319,000 of the 677,000 vehicles sold through the program, formally known as the Cash Allowance Rebate System, or CARS.


Japan Car Sales Jump 18.3% for November

Long-troubled market shows third consecutive gain.

by on Dec.01, 2009

The Japanese version of the new Honda Insight has helped prop up the carmaker's sales.

The Japanese version of the new Honda Insight has helped prop up the carmaker's sales.

In a sign that the Japanese economy is gaining some life, car sales jumped 18.3% in November, the industry reported today.  That marked the third monthly increase in a row following 13 straight months of decline.

Of course, the turnaround needs to be put in perspective, since late 2008 saw sharp declines.  In fact, the latest 18.3% increase barely offsets the 18.2% drop in the Japanese car market in November 2008.

On the whole, the market operated at a flat, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, or SAAR, of 5.3 million, which is barely half the Japanese market’s one-time peak.

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(Click Here for Joe Szczesny’s report on the seemingly irreversible, long-term decline of the Japanese car market.)

November demand for minicars, particularly popular on the crowded urban streets of Japan, surged 6.5%, but so-called non-minis grew 36%.