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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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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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