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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.

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