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Ford to pull out of Japan, Indonesia

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Seems that sales are also falling♪like a rock♪. I can't remember the last time I saw a Ford in Japan, let alone a Ford dealership.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

That was the Chevy ad, not Ford.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

How about putting some effort into the market? Have you ever seen a Ford advertisement? Any activity at all to show your presence in Japan? No, nothing. Just because you're famous in the US does not mean you automatically have a high profile here in Japan or anywhere else. If you put NO effort into selling, then you get no sales. That is how it works. A few years ago, VW started advertising in Japan. And guess what! I started seeing VWs driving down the street.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

@JohnDigsJapan

Ah yes, thanks. Maybe if Ford actually spent a bit of money on ads in Japan I wouldn't be mixing the two of them up.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

They would achieve more success with their European Ford models, more suited to the Japan market.

Or are they still smarting from their relatively unsuccessful tie up with Mazda all those years ago? They still have 2.1% of Mazda shares.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Never seen commercials on TV for many years. It seems that Ford has not tried to sell as many as it can in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just in time for the TPP. To be honest I was hoping the TPP may spark more sales of American cars in Japan, even if they are oversized for an average Japanese family

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There isnt any money to be made in Japan and with all the regulations and tariffs, its not worth the effort, They are better to concentrate in SE Asia and China. hopefully their domestic demand will overtake Toyota, Nissan and others who have dominated in the U.S. market due to easy access.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

There are no tariffs on car imports to Japan. Don't even mention about non tariff barriers as well since a left handle car is not popular in Japan the same way a right handle cars are not popular around the world beside Britain and Japan.

Basically they can't generate sales that is all.Their excuse is lame as well since with automated cars on the horizon there will be a large demand in a greying society.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A lot of misunderstandings on this forum. There's a couple of Fords in my immediate Tokyo neighborhood: a Focus (with right hand drive) and an Explorer. The Focus model used to share its platform with Mazda and doesn't look anywhere out of place on Japanese roads.

I see Fiestas occasionally as well, which are popular in Europe. Ford has long been one of the world's most globalized car brands. However, Japan is a declining low-profit market, even for Japanese makers, who are more interested these days in emerging markets.

3 ( +4 / -2 )

Good Old Ford.... like the saying goes: "It's good that they circled around the problem"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very few are going to miss them.. As is often said, don't let the door hit you in the a** on the way out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Who knows what the reason is for the poor sales, maybe they aren't locally suited enough

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The yaks now buy German cars or Lexus. It is a long time since they bought Lincolns, a Ford product. Small Fords are Mazdas anyway.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If American car makers made something that Japanese wanted then maybe they would buy. These guys are just whining that no one wants their inferior or useless product in japan. What maybe fine in montana may not be even useful in japan. Boo hoo ford.

-5 ( +6 / -10 )

Ah, the good ol' "If it's foreign, it's trash." attitude... People need to be more open minded. This isn't the same quality of car that was made in the 1970's you know.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Well Ford didn't really didn't place much effort in proving their quality is at par with other brands.

Basically if you do not place serious effort in marketing then sales are not going to improve in this saturated market.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Some last minute fodder for the anti-TPP lobbying?

Whatever it is, Ford has been phoning it in as far as Japan goes. There are models that people would want to buy - fiesta and focus are both excellent cars - but Ford haven't even tried to access the market.

2 ( +2 / -1 )

Precisely what Detroit's Whiner-in-Chief, Alan Mulally, was looking for.

What's his excuse for Indonesia?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lots of reasons for pulling out, low sales due to lack of effort a big one, local prejudice against NAmerican made cars is VERY STRONG here very ingrained for many decades.

That said the quality & variety is rather low here, even though its improved.

Etc Etc. The nail in the coffin though is simply that Japan is no longer worth the bother, as Jeff L pointed out the J-Car market is in decline for JAPANESE makers let alone foreign, less young people want to have cars, less & less young people are being born, the market is SHRINKING, hence no longer worth the bother!

We have already witnessed foreign oil interests exiting Japan big time over the last 15yrs or so.

Japan is going to have a hell of a time retaining let alone expanding foreign investment here due to overall decline is so many areas of like/work in Japan. Shoganai ne!!

-1 ( +5 / -7 )

@gokai wo maneku,

Its very simple. Japanese buy Japanese things because they are Japanese. No other reason. Every instrument in the schools is Yamaha, heavy machinery is Komatsu, Beer in the shops is all J beer etc. Thats how the culture works. Is it a bad thing? not sure but Japanese do like their own things. This is why Trump is right about balancing trade deals.

0 ( +7 / -6 )

NO,its not because Japanese buy Japanese products(cars),we can easily see lots of Mercedes.Any way,even if this is how culture works,i dont think this is something bad,especially if their products are proved to be very good ones.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Where is the place Ford is popular except the States' domestic market?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GW

Even with a declining market with only 3,000 units annual sales there is still a lot of margin to grow if they were serious. As for decline of younger generation as I posted before the greying market is a large potential market for automated driving cars which Abe is promising to become a reality by 2020.

Basically Ford is moving out not because of the mentioned reasons you posted but because they have no money to put into marketing to revise the market perception towards the Ford brand and American cars in general.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@GW

Prejudice against NA cars?

I don't think that's the case. I think that's the case here on JT among expats who love to beat on America, but I don't think it's true with the Japanese car buying public.

I see plenty of Jeep commercials on TV, plenty of Jeep tie-ins and product placements in movies, plenty of Jeep dealer outreach events at shopping centers. As a result, I see plenty of Jeeps on the road. People know they're available, so they consider them when its time to buy.

Ford has virtually zero presence here. I drive past a Ford dealership once or twice a month. They don't advertise, not even in the local paper. They don't even put up posters in the windows advertising promotions. Needless to say, they don't do things like TV commercials or product placements or anything else that might cost money. As a result, you don't see many Fords on the road - people don't know they're an option.

And if you do walk through the door, interested in buying a Fiesta (as I have done recently), you have one option - the one on the lot. Want one of the other 5 colors? Want leather? Sorry, have to order that, could be up to six months. Actual quote, that.

Contrast that with the VW Polo. 5 trim levels to choose from, 8 colors IIRC, plenty of other options, can have it for you by the end of the month. Sold.

Ford is exiting a game they never tried to play.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I bought a Ford the same time as my neighbours bought Toyota and Mazda. For the 8 years I owned it, it was in the shop 19 times to fix "issues with this particular model" and my neighbours never took their's to the shop apart from regular servicing. What a dreadful car this Ford was, never again....

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I guess they just never really put much effort into the local market. There was a dealer near my house and they only had one model on sale (the Explorer). Kinda disappointing as the Ecoboost engine is a technical marvel & the latest Focus RS has received rave reviews. That said, you just can't beat Japanese cars for reliability.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That's a pity, I have owned an number of different brands (including Ford, Honda, and GM). I really think Ford had done great in designing their new models in the last 5 to 7 years or so. And they had put a lot of technology in the cars and made it easy to use.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I didn't even know Ford was in Japan. I always just assumed that the very rare Ford I would see was a special import.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where is the place Ford is popular except the States' domestic market?

Europe, where it's a car for the masses who can't afford the People's Car.

Ford had to withdraw from the executive market, for example, as no-one wanted to be seen either driving or being chauffeured in, a Scorpio versus an A6 or E-class.

As commented earlier, the Fiesta couldn't compete with the Polo here. The Focus looks and feels cheap compared to a Golf. Reliability is a question mark with so few examples around, and residual values less than encouraging.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ford group went down the drain when they sold off Volvo and Jaguar which were both hot selling cars in Japan.

Believe it or not in the early 90's the Ford group as a whole sold around 25,000 units. The two brands heavily contributed to those numbers of course.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Financially speaking, it is a good decision. However, it's very bad news for its employees.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The irony is that Ford taught Toyota how to make cars, now its all been reversed. Ford not a bad brand, they just dont need the headaches of the Japanese market.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Two Japanese friends of mine both had Ford station wagons about 10 years ago...all was fine until mechanical problems happened and getting parts from Ford took weeks. I see so many VW's, Volvos, BMW's and Mercs around, so I certainly don't think they failed here for not being Japanese.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese car usually is the best bang for the buck and its their home turf ... however I wonder if TPP would make American cars more competent in Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kuribo

What whining? They tried to enter a market that they failed in, so they are now pulling out. Did Ford insult your mother or something? Why all the animosity?

1 ( +2 / -2 )

Well Japan, your 40 years of tariffs, non-tariff barriers and industry collusion have paid off ! Congrats ! Now the consumer has even less choice.

By the way, Ford is doing quite well in the US, and you would be lucky to drive one, much roomier and more power than most JP cars.

-2 ( +1 / -4 )

It is indeed sorry to see Ford Japan exit from the market. I had a Ford international European model and have had zero problems and runs great. Ford could have really made a dent in the market if they stuck to the sporty models like the Ford Focus ST which sold like hot cakes when it first came out and got great reviews worldwide. The last one they imported to Japan was in 2006 which is a real shame. Real Ford die hards will now have to rely to small importers to get their hands on European Fords which they currently do, but sell at quite a premium. And as the majority of the comments on this page, Ford did not spend any money on advertising to the greater broad audience, only to it's small pool of existing clients who happened to buy Ford. But those who did, I must compliment them on the professional service they provided to their clients.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@JA_Cruise: I live in Tokyo and often saw Ford advertisements in the weekly papers and more than a few Fords (usually the small SUVs which I would love to own) are on the streets. However, I think Japan is not profitable for them, and the market is shrinking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Reckless

Japan abolished import tariff on cars in 1978.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

European cars are seen as classy... American cars are seen as... er... not.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not mentioned is that every Japanese maker is also losing money in the Japanese market. Domestic sales are falling every year, even though the Japanese makers have a nearly captive market.

Japan abolished import tariff on cars in 1978.

But they didn't abolish price fixing among distributors and sellers, which is why an American car costs about 40& more in Japan than it does in America. When the yen grew to 76 against the dollar, a 40% increase in less than two years, the prices of American and European cars did not drop a single yen, this is about as blatant an example of price fixing as one could imagine. A friend of mine from Nikkei news interviewed some of the local dealerships, and it was funny seeing them try to explain why a 40% increase in the value of the yen did not translate into increased sales due to lower prices. Prices were not lowered, so the sales did not increase.

European cars are seen as classy... American cars are seen as... er... not.

If you are talking about German cars, the reason these are so widely sold is because when Japan tried to push up the cost of German cars in Japan, Germany retaliated by doing the same to Japanese cars in Germany. Japan backed down, and so did the prices of German cars. I can get a mid-range Mercedes Benz in Japan for less than a Dodge Challenger. Used late-model American cars cost much more in Japan than new ones cost in America.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

U.S. auto companies have export problems to Japan and they have given up. In Japan, Keiretsu is a form of corporate structure in which a number of Japanese companies link together, usually by taking small stakes in each other and usually as a result of having a close business relationship, often as suppliers to each other. The structure, was a way to defuse the traditionally adversarial relationship between buyer and supplier. If you own a bit of your supplier, reinforced sometimes by your supplier owning a bit of you, the theory says that you are more likely to reach a way of working that is of mutual benefit to you both than if your relationship is at arm’s length. U.S. auto companies disliked Japan’s keiretsu because they saw them as a restraint of trade. keiretsu restrains trade because there is a very strong preference to do business only with someone in that Japanese family. In Japan the keiretsu were regulated by specific laws, and they were structured in such a way that cooperation between them was almost compulsory. People talk about how successful BMW and Mercedes is, but in reality, it's a drop in the bucket when BMW sells slightly over 20,000 vehicles a year in Japan.

1 ( +4 / -4 )

@sfjtp,

Thats very true; they collaborate with each other from outside product copying to local sourcing to manufacturer to supplier to retailer. Its an amazing thing to witness and just see how clever they are in shutting out any threats.

What I havent figured out yet is how they allowed Costco to come in. Costco can source from abroad, and sell wholesale in Japan. I guess they got the whole chain controlled.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I can get a mid-range Mercedes Benz in Japan for less than a Dodge Challenger.

The Merc is also better built, can go round corners and probably has better gadgets to play with. Plus you turn up in a Merc and people see you have taste. Turn up in a US barge and people think you're a show off.

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

@sfjp330

BMW sells slightly over 20,000 vehicles a year in Japan.

Try again. BMW Mini is around 20,000. The rest of BMW is north of 45,000. They outsell Lexus, to put that into perspective.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Thunderbird2: "Turn up in a US barge and people think you're a show off."

I don't know if you have seen American cars recently but they are highly competitive. I am not retired yet like you seem to be and would much prefer a 300 hp (this is entry level engine) Dodge Challenger to a stodgy Benz, and I am sure my young 20's gf would too.

-2 ( +1 / -4 )

Not just Japan and Indonesia, Ford (and General Motors) are pulling out of Australia soon leaving no car manufacturing here at all. After these current retreats, and then the fiasco with Saab not so long ago, it would behove other car manufacturers to be very wary of having anything to do in the way of commercial links with American manufacturers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am not retired yet like you seem to be and would much prefer a 300 hp (this is entry level engine) Dodge Challenger to a stodgy Benz, and I am sure my young 20's gf would too.

Retired? Koff koff! No I just prefer Euro cars to US cars - give me an Aston Martin anytime... even a Fiat 500 :p

Oh... and powerful car, young GF... mid life crisis? lol

2 ( +4 / -1 )

Which is the excuse for the giant Indonesian market?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Amazing how Ford has about 14% U.S. market share and over 7% worldwide, but sold only 5,000 cars in Japan last year.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Which is the excuse for the giant Indonesian market?

it is not giant?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese roads are full of Mercedes, BMW's, Audi's and VW's. They aren't pulling out of Japan because of some "conspiracy" to keep them out.

Ford product designs don't suit Japanese tastes. Period.

Ford pickup trucks and Explorers are the products propping up market share in the US.

Note to Ford: Vehicles the size of battleships don't sell too well in Japan.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@sangetsu03: it's "only" one of the most important emerging markets.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese automarket is infamously difficult for foreign car makers to penetrate. People that say "Ford and GM don't make small cars" are misinformed, because the chevy dart, ford focus, ford fiesta, and chevy spark are great for Japanese roads. Ford and GM have already identified the culprit- it's not their problem, it's protectionist policies, as well as Japanese xenophobia towards foreign made products (other than the iphone)

-1 ( +3 / -5 )

In any case, don't be surprised if Tesla, then Google and Apple electric cars leapfrog all of the current dominant players. In 2008 I would have never imagined that Apple would dominate the phone handheld phone market in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

z

U.S. auto companies have export problems to Japan and they have given up. In Japan, Keiretsu is a form of corporate structure in which a number of Japanese companies link together, usually by taking small stakes in each other and usually as a result of having a close business relationship, often as suppliers to each other. The structure, was a way to defuse the traditionally adversarial relationship between buyer and supplier. If you own a bit of your supplier, reinforced sometimes by your supplier owning a bit of you, the theory says that you are more likely to reach a way of working that is of mutual benefit to you both than if your relationship is at arm’s length. U.S. auto companies disliked Japan’s keiretsu because they saw them as a restraint of trade. keiretsu restrains trade because there is a very strong preference to do business only with someone in that Japanese family. In Japan the keiretsu were regulated by specific laws, and they were structured in such a way that cooperation between them was almost compulsory. People talk about how successful BMW and Mercedes is, but in reality, it's a drop in the bucket when BMW sells slightly over 20,000 vehicles a year in Japan.

You are soo right on the money here, I don't unberstand why -'s too many Japan weebo's here I guess.

Doing business here with foreign products is a crapshoot at best. I can't Imagine the hastle that car manufacturers have to deal with. I bought a foreign car here and paid about 20% more than I should have, when I asked the dealer why he said basically what you said, they nickel and dime them it's all part of the non-tariff barriers they are soo good at here.

2 ( +2 / -1 )

Yo, Bob: So why are there so many Mercedes, BMW's and Audi's in Japan? Protectionist policies? They are stylish, that's why.

Chevy Spark, Ford Focus... are you kidding?

Look, Japanese car companies design and build cars (in North America) specifically for the US market. American car companies do not. Their sales plan is "Take it or leave it."

0 ( +4 / -3 )

Keiretsu has nothing to do with selling cars in Japan, it only has to do with manufacturing obtaining parts and since none of the foreign Automobile brands has a manufacturing facility in Japan it should not have any affect. All spare parts are imported again without tariff so the prices you see are the prices the importer slaps on. If you think it is too expensive that is the fault of importer/distributors fault don't cry foul against a government that does not gain anything from it besides sales tax.

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

Selling tens of thousands premium cars in Japan is just fine, but if you're aiming for the economy market and still only selling in the tens of thousands, that's no good because there's not as much operating profit there (compared to the premium cars). Making changes for relatively marginal profits may not be worth it, compared to diverting those resources to something else that would not cost as much but yield better returns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@lostrune2

European automakers were more successful in Japan since they limited themselves to luxury and niche cars. They would be mercilessly slaughtered if they sent over their bread-and-butter cars to compete with Toyota and Nissan in Japan. This is what Hyundai found out few years ago when they decided to stop selling cars in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How do you explain VW which sells the most units amongst importer brands which also clashes directly with Toyota and Nissan in the compact car segment?

Basically your assessment is completely off.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@trouble: "Note to Ford: Vehicles the size of battleships don't sell too well in Japan".... This comment just made me crack up. Good points made.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TriringJAN. 27, 2016 - 05:03PM JST How do you explain VW which sells the most units amongst importer brands which also clashes directly with Toyota and Nissan in the compact car segment? Basically your assessment is completely off.

If you do the math, Japan has population of 125 million and most successful company like VW sells around 50,000 cars. In the U.S., with population that is about three times more than Japan, VW sells around 375,000 cars. VW still sells 2-1/2 times more than Japan if you based on equal population. Even the most successful foreign companies still struggle to sell in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -1 )

I guess Ford will continue to make money without the Japanese market.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Again do your math VW has less then 300 outlets in Japan each Japanese Auto brands has more or less 10 times that many.

Coverage is king in this business.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Triring

Since you mentioned VW as been most successful in Japan, BMW, Mercedes benz, VW? If these companies are so successful as you described, why isn't there a single manufacturing plant in Japan? There is plenty in all other countries that they have market. But why not in Japan?

1 ( +1 / -1 )

Don't ask me. You should ask them. The brands you mentioned only has around 2~300 outlets each in Japanl. If they increase their outlets their sales should increase as well.

I believe someone posted that BMW sells more units then Lexus which has less outlets then BMW which I had predicted when they started their brand in Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -1 )

Ford is only good at building gas guzzling SUVs and trucks. Their midsize sedans are uninspiring copycat designs (Fusion inspired by Maserati, and years ago, Taurus by Merkur) that they milk for as long as they can.

Their small cars are of European, Mazda or Daewoo origins. Ford in Detroit has no idea how to build small cars.

Ford is kept alive only by American institutions adverse to buying foreign - law enforcement, taxis, and patriotic rednecks.

-2 ( +0 / -1 )

AsianGaijinYesWeExis JAN. 29, 2016 - 02:36PM JST Ford in Detroit has no idea how to build small cars.

In 2015, Ford sold close to 800,000 in China and 6 million worldwide. One of the biggest in fortune 500 company. Ford knows what they are doing.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

Trump's head must be spinning.

But honestly though, the only Ford I like are F-150s and Mustangs, and it's not for their reliability, safety, or quality either.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AsianGaijinYesWeExis JAN. 29, 2016 - 02:36PM JST Ford in Detroit has no idea how to build small cars.

In 2015, Ford sold close to 800,000 in China and 6 million worldwide. One of the biggest in fortune 500 company. Ford knows what they are doing.

Chinese car buyers have, shall we say, 'unique taste'. They love Buick, before Buick was somewhat cool again recently. Besides, a lot of Ford sold outside N America were designed by European Ford, which I have much more respect for.

Like I said, Detroit Ford is only good at building SUVs and trucks. They hit a jackpot once in a while with sedans, by blatantly copying European looks, then milk it for as long as they can. Watch how long the current Fusion design runs, compared to the 5 year cycle of current Japanese makes.

And again, a lot of institutions in US would not buy anything foreign, effectively narrowing down the competition to just three.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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