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Ford’s Mulally Takes Shots at Japan

CEO wants Japan locked out of free trade talks.

by on Mar.26, 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally labels Japan the "most closed automobile market in the world."

Citing what he described as the ongoing manipulation of its currency, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said he does not want to see Japan allowed to enter into a new round of Asia-Pacific free trade discussions.

Mulally and other Detroit industry leaders have been pushing to prevent their primary Asian rivals from benefiting from proposed measures that would expand, among other things, automotive trade in one of the world’s fastest-growing regional markets.

The Ford chief executive laid out some fierce criticism of Japanese economic policies, pointing out that the yen has slid about 8% against the American dollar since the beginning of the year, something that he and other critics don’t feel is justified by current economic conditions.

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Mulally, a former Boeing senior executive, also expressed his frustration during a stop in Bangkok over what he felt was Japan’s ongoing efforts to restrict foreign automobile brands, calling the country, “the most closed automobile market in the world.”

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Toyota, Subaru Trim U.S. Production in Wake of Japanese Disaster

“We’re watching hour-by-hour, part-by-part.”

by on Mar.15, 2011

Subaru halts U.S. prouction of the Outback.

The impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami has now reached the U.S., two automakers announcing plans to cut back on production due to potential shortages of imported components.

Other Japanese makers are still assessing the situation, as are Detroit’s Big Three, all of which import parts and components from Japan.

“We’re watching hour-by-hour, part-by-part,” said a senior industry executive asking not to be identified by name.

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Subaru of America says it is suspending indefinitely production at its assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana.  The factory produces the maker’s Outback, Tribeca and Legacy sedan models.  There are 3,500 U.S. workers at the factory, which last year produced 150,000 vehicles.

The shutdown could disrupt Subaru’s steady growth in the American market.  The maker last year posted an all-time sales record of 263,820 vehicles, a 16% increase.

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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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