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Japanese automakers object to U.S. 'cash-for-clunkers' program

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dinosaurs eating dinosaurs, get out of fossil fuel. note the period, go electric. Cash for clunkers? To make more clunkers?? Too many clunkers.

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Yes, but you cannot ignore the issue. Toyota is ready now to sell hybrids now that it developed independently at great risk. Ford and GM want to let people get vouchers for cars that they have not developed or produced yet.

Found in a GAKKEN book for kids published in 1978 that Daihatsu and Nissan had named and numbered hybrid models back then. Ford was producing the PINTO then. Japanese car makers should be rewarded, not punished, for having the right vehicles at the right time.

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Hold up, they are complaining because they can not keep up with sales demand?

You shouldn't have closed your factories over summer then.

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What blatant hypocracy. Toyota and Honda only exist at their current levels because the U.S. opened its automotive market to them, and, despite years of currency intervention by the J-government to provide a favorable exchange rate, never passed any protectionist legislation. Now, just because they want to allow the dealers to replenish their stock during this program -- which, by the way, the U.S. taxpayer is paying for -- they want to bitch? Unbelievable.

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Gotta agree with gogogo. They shouldn't have paniced and kept up production and jobs for the work force. Stop whinging and start solving is my comment.

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Got to love it. Buy U.S.A! I wish my idea would have been part of the law. I would have made it dependent on where it was made. 100% rebate for cars made by US automakers in the USA. 50% for cars produced overseas by foreign companies. And 75% for cars made by foreign owned companies made in the USA. American cars made overseas and the re-sold to Americans would get the same percentage. 50%. Keep my tax dollars in American working for Americans.

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im pretty sure GM invented the electric car far ahead of the Japanese sadly battery power and interest groups eventually killed it. As certain people on this forum are attempting to say that

Ford and GM want to let people get vouchers for cars that they have not developed or produced yet.

This is not the case as the article says the program has been successful and stocks of new models have been depleted therefor for consumers to get newer cars they may have to wait and would miss out on the cash for clunkers program. Nothing to do with cars they have not developed yet.

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It is ridiculous. Using tax money to subsidize purchases of cars is like scooping water from one side of the bucket to the other side of the bucket... and claiming that makes the bucket full. Welcome to socialist economic logic...

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As for the American car manufacturing industry......you gotta grab for straws if there's nothing much left to grab for.

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im pretty sure GM invented the electric car far ahead of the Japanese

Electric cars have been around since the 1830s. Scotland, I believe.

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Japan's car makers make a killing on Cash for Clunkers August 3, 2009 JapanInc.

Non-story.

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"Japan's car makers make a killing on Cash for Clunkers August 3, 2009 JapanInc. Non-story."

Then don't read it and comment on it.

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"Stop whinging and start solving is my comment."

You forgot to tell us HOW they should solve this....Buggerlugs. That's MY comment. Any ideas?

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I believe Japanese car makers as well as American would not be punished by selling electric cars to their domestic markets.

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noborito:

Look at the results of questionnaires sent out by research firms and you'll see that most people who bought Toyota, Honda, Nissan did so because of better quality and value (it's not hard to find a honda still running strong at 300,000 miles but the same can't be said for ford or Chevrolet..very difficult)

Also, the majority of these cars for the US market are made in USA. They don't face bankruptcy because they did what they needed to do to keep the company going.

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I would have made it dependent on where it was made.

So as the Japanese do with their "green car" initiative that only Japanese made vehicles can be registered for.

I am glad that at least Europe and now the US show that there are people who understand the meaning of fair trade and open markets.

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KyotoChris, if GM, Ford, and Chevy had the same support as Toyota and Honda, in-terms of Government intervention, I am sure they could improve. As for a car, who drives the same car for 300,000 miles. Most if not all exchange new cars ever 5 years or sooner. What's the point. I think you should clarify. Used Cars sales I could understand thinking about long term, but who really cars. The American stimulus is for America not Japan or other countries. Buy American.

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Perhaps people SHOULD drive their cars to 300,000 + miles instead of throwing money away and getting into debt again to buy a new one to satisfy an aesthetic appeal or must have in-dash GPS system.

I agree that the Japanese manufacturers receive a large support from the government that US makers don't or didn't until all the bailouts by US govt. (GM went bankrupt but govt. made sure it didn't get hit too hard and tried to make it so people who had defective vehicles and were injured could not longer sue the manufacturer after bankruptcy). The US (like here) is VERY expensive place to live. It's not the citizen's fault and I think most Americans are very nice and welcoming so I'm not jabbing at US people ever. My problem is that the pure capitalism and stand back govt. has ALLOWED all these things to happen, escalating cost of living and food prices, people losing jobs and losing homes, health care issue.

With the C4C program, yes, it "might" help to buy US cars but the majority of the increase in sales will go to the executives and NOT the people who need it. Buy Japanese/Korean (not to mention German which is more expensive than US or Japanese) and yes, some of the money will go overseas but as I said the majority of these vehicles for US market are assembled at plants in US so it does help people in US. Whether the money goes go to already rich US executives or already rich Japanese executives is the same thing. Some US parts are manufactured in China and Japanese parts in Japan so some of the money will always be leaving the home country.

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I think the Japanese car manufacturers have a lot of gall to make this an issue but then US (or European) car companies would do the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot. I would hope most people ralize that there are no "national" car companies anymore - its a global business. Mustangs are made at a Mazda manufacturing facility in Flat Rock Michigan - Chrysler PT Cruisers and some Ford Focuses are made in Mexico, along with all VW Golfs and Jettas for the US market. Chrysler 300s, Dodge Challengers, Ford Crown Vics and Lincoln Town Cars are all made in Canada. Buick builds and sells more cars in China than in the US. Don't fall for the "patriotic Buy American" campaign.

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I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the issue. My read is that Ford and GM are running out of stock on the higher MPG models, which are the only ones available for the C4C program. All they have left on lots are SUVs and landyachts. Japanese vehicles, on the other hand, have high MPG and are in stock. So Ford wants to let people have vouchers to buy Ford vehicles that do not exist. Ford never made them. Neither did GM. Japanese manufacturers are shouting NO FAIR because the rules were changed in the middle of the game. I don't blame em. The fact of the matter is that Ford and GM only produce clunkers, and this is not a clunkers for clunkers program. Nuff said.

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Klein2,

You got it exactly right. The problem is that the headline is misleading. There is no objection to the cash for clunkers program, just to changing the rules to allow the companies to deliver a promise instead of a car.

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It's a fair complaint but, ultimately, meaningless. Having sold some 50% of the vehicles bought through this program, the Japanese companies have, proportionally, benefited slightly better than the Big Three. Within the next year to eighteen months, either Chrysler or GM will be out of business, making the Japanese auto companies the major suppliers in the NA market.

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As an owner of 3 US and 3 Japanese vehicles, I can categorically say you'd be a fool to buy a Detroit product. Japanese cars are simply the best. Buy the Toyota that's on the lot...not the poorly designed and built-by-overpaid-lazy-union members crap the Big 3 are selling.

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Noborito - "The American stimulus is for America not Japan or other countries. Buy American"

It is, its helping maintain manufacturing, dealer, roadside assistance and bodyshop businesses in the US. Buy in America and youre helping your neighbor, never mind where the perceived profits, if any, go. look beyond your prejudice and see that expanding the programme helps everyone by generating some cashflow.

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"Got to love it. Buy U.S.A! " "Buy American."

Ok, got it. But why should Americans "buy USA" if they can get higher quality products from other countries?

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"As an owner of 3 US and 3 Japanese vehicles, I can categorically say you'd be a fool to buy a Detroit product"

And yet you bought three Detroit products. Incredible...

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I wish I had one the clunkers. Some of the so-called clunkers are better that the clunker I currently drive. I was laid off from my job and I guess I will be stuck with my clunker for awhile.

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To be fair though cruxman2001, Ford cars are just as good as toyota's and honda's when it comes to quality and they are catching up too in fuel economy.

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Americans have been buying imports for decades because they are more fuel efficient and built to higher standards. Not because US markets were less restrictive for imports than overseas markets for US exports. That said I don't think Japanese automakers need to object to the voucher initiative. Let the US consumers themselves decide what they want to buy and make a down payment through the C4C program for a vehicle they will get in a couple of months.

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Sorry to hear about that Redeemed. Hope you find something else soon.

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Americans have been buying imports for decades because they are more fuel efficient and built to higher standards. Not because US markets were less restrictive for imports than overseas markets for US exports.

Presto345; "Not because U.S. Markets were less restrictive for imports than overseas markets for US exports." What are you talking about? You need to look at the history. Japan was dumping their cars into U.S. in the '90's. Japanese were exporting over 2,000,000 vehicles almost every year to U.S. market in the '90s, and U.S. annually shipped 10,000 vehicles to Tokyo, Japan, in which U.S. vehicles were extensively inspected, scrutinized, and modified for Japanese market, and their cars were priced twice as in the states for same car. Japan called this a fair trade while the U.S. called it a garbage support. Japan has taken much as it can from U.S. and does not have self-restaint on what is fair and has no concept of what is fair trade. Point is Japanese companies did a good job in destroying big three and you are saying this is a fair trade. Look at the trade inbalance from Japan and U.S. for the last twenty years, do you call it fair trade?

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sfjp330 -- exactly. I'd like the J-fans here to point to a single example of Japan truly practicing fair trade.

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sfjp I remember the yen at 150 in the early 90s. It has continued climbing and the BOJ cannot stop it even with interest rates near zero for decades. I remember quantitative import restrictions in the US levelled against J cars. I remember Detroit changing the EPA ratings system to give them better numbers against J cars. I remember the BUSH administration giving subsidies to buyers of SUVs. I remember GM CEO Waggoner receiving more in salary in 2007 than the top 25 Toyota executives COMBINED. I remember Ford pushing out its PINTO to compete with Daihatsu, Fuji Heavy Industries, and Honda three decades ago. I remember that they were upgrading their EXCURSION while Toyota was perfecting its PRIUS, which was car of the year in 2004. I remember GM coming to SUZUKI for the chassis for a small vehicle because GM could not make it for itself. And really, you are talking sfjp, about alleged subsidies of what, millions? The entire thrust of Detroit's marketing and development has been out of whack for decades. Ain't no government subsidy or guidance that will fix that kind of whacko.

Your allegations of trickery and foul play ring hollow. Japan Inc. did not destroy Detroit. Detroit did it to themselves.

Here is a shining example of how Detroit had yet another chance and blew it. From the HISTORY OF HYBRID VEHICLES "The Clinton Administration announced a government initiative called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). In the program, the government worked with the American auto industry to develop a clean car that could operate at up to 80 miles per gallon. Several years and a billion dollars later, the PNGV emerged with three prototypes for their 80 mpg car. Every prototype was a hybrid.

Toyota's exclusion from PNGV prompted Chairman Eiji Toyoda to create a secret project called G21, Global Car for the 21st Century. The following year, Toyota doubled its original goal of improving fuel efficiency by 50 percent."

oooops. Toyota, frozen out of a consortium, decides to go it alone and proceeds to beat the tar out of everyone else, who apparently IGNORED the progress that the consortium made. I guess they all thought that Toyota was going to sponge all of their knowledge and experience. Yeah right. Toyota's program was so secret that I, for one, was reading news reports about its progress weekly. Detroit is one tall glass of STUPID. The whole lot of em. They knew what Toyota was doing. They just did not care.

And kudos to Honda. Even more independent than Toyota and kicking the carp out of huge companies just by virtue of making high-quality cars. If Honda can produce good vehicles like CIVIC and Hybrids, then why can't GM and Ford? Detroit had every advantage conceivable and still mucked it up. Japan does not even have iron ore and rubber, and it succeeds.

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Klein2..The problem with U.S. auto is not really that they couldn't build a decent small economy car, they can, but at that time, to maximize the profits, these executives focused on larger vehicles with high profit margin. In comparison to compact Ford Focus, you have to sell 4 to 5 Focus to get comparable profit from one loaded Ford Expedition. The bottom line is that if company made money, and if you show results for 4-5 years, they will compensate you based on this short performance, and this was big money. In the U.S. during mid 90's, most of the executives served around 4-6 years before he/she left the company with large compensation and hook up with another company or easily retired. The Japanese and European R/D and business plan are for longer term, 5-10-15 years. This is why they do so well with loyalty. They don't have large disparaties in executive salaries. At the time, If you compare with U.S. mentality of executives with Japanese, they were like rabbit racing a turtle. Regardless, It's benefitical for Japanese companies to have healthier U.S. economy.

By the way, in 1996, at one point the exchange rate was 79 yen per dollar. But I still don't understand why in the 90's, to buy American car in Tokyo, it cost twice as much as in the states. Can you explain? Fair trade means it should be about the same price in Tokyo showroom.

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I agree with Klein2 in this case.

Detroit destroyed themselves, Japan had little to do with it. Bad business practices, horrible quality, lower building standards, poor, uninspiring designs, coupled with a parasitic useless Union is what is the downfall of the big 3.

You also can not blame the Japanese Gov. for the lack if American autos brought to Japan. The CONSUMER in this case decides what they want, and no Japanese person in their right mind would take a blatently obvious inferior product over one they can rely on. Let's not even take into account for servicing availability. Even if the American autos were sold at the same price in Japan as they are in the US, it would not make a differnce, Japanese consumers simply do not want them.

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By the way, in 1996, at one point the exchange rate was 79 yen per dollar. But I still don't understand why in the 90's, to buy American car in Tokyo, it cost twice as much as in the states. Can you explain?

Because they're (U.S. auto makers) stupid.

Maybe it's time that you and herefonow give us the specifics in this so-called trade barrier that Japan had supposedly imposed on the U.S. auto makers.

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sfjp330

"Not because U.S. Markets were less restrictive for imports than overseas markets for US exports." What are you talking about? You need to look at the history. Japan was dumping their cars into U.S. in the '90's.

Please read what I wrote again. I mentioned why Americans have been buying imports. I did not talk about why the Japanese have not been buying American cars. But it is obvious and it has in the meantime been explained by Klein2

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"By the way, in 1996, at one point the exchange rate was 79 yen per dollar. But I still don't understand why in the 90's, to buy American car in Tokyo, it cost twice as much as in the states"

I did some work for Chrysler in Japan at the time, when they launched the Neon. In its class it wasnt expensive, very much priced on a par with local product. But it was still uncompetitive. The smallest engine was a 2 litre petrol, it came with a three speed auto, very very poor use of trim materials, panel gaps that you could fit a finger into, lumps of crap in the paint and each car required rectification work to the jacking points and headlamps to be legal for sale.

When all the market specific problems were reported in person to production engineers in Chicago, they couldnt understand as the car was a success in the US. Nothing was done and the car failed in Japan to the usual chorus of "unfair trade practices".

The point Im trying to make is that US designed and built cars dont do well in Japan because they arent good enough. Maybe now the industry is on its knees that fact will be accepted.

The cash for clunkers programme will help tide the industry over, but only a change of attitude and a little humility will save it.

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"but only a change of attitude and a little humility will save it."

Not only the car industry.....some posters from there as well.

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Even if the American autos were sold at the same price in Japan as they are in the US, it would not make a differnce, Japanese consumers simply do not want them.

societymike:

Regardless of the quality, the facts are that in Tokyo, U.S. cars cost for twice the cost as in the states in the '90's. Point is it doesn't matter if they want it or not. I'm asking why it cost twice as much and give me a explanation. Nobody has the answer other than bash the big three.

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In 1995, average GM cars were over $50,000 in Japan.......New York Times 2/20/95. Regardless of the quality, give me a explantion to above.

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In 1995, average GM cars were over $50,000 in Japan.......New York Times 2/20/95

Do you have a link?

Anyway, if you're going to take a small number of US cars into a foreign market, you have to add shipping costs, costs to adapt to the regulations of the country, and costs to run the vehicle through whatever intermediary dealers (Japan has a lot) along the way. As a consumer, you'd also have to think about parts for maintenance that are not readily available in the foreign country. The only people who would do this are rich people who just liked a big, foreign cars, so your target market wouldn't care that much about price.

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sfjp. I am yawning. I know the things you posted. I lived through them. During the yen peak in the mid 90s, Toyota soldiered on and continued its development of hybrids. Did Detroit use that high-yen hiatus to accomplish something? No? It just shows even more what dullards the denizens of Detroit really are. Maximize profits. And now they need bailouts. Ford was so flush with cash three years ago that they did not know what to do with it. Would producing a good hybrid car have made sense? Maybe? Go ahead and blame consumers and shareholders sfjp. Any businessman will tell you that if you are blaming customers and your business owner, you should have quit long ago. If management cannot manage, they fail. Waggoner and his replacement have PhD, MBA, and all manner of degrees. I think his replacement has a JD. And look at them. What a disgrace.

Toyota and anyone else can charge whatever the market will bear if they are not dumping. Free trade does not mean uniform pricing.

I am sad that US manufacturers cannot put on a better show. It is a darned shame that Detroit failed the US public while all Honda and Toyota and others have done is produced great cars 24/7 for decades. It would be so convenient to blame it on unfair trade practices, but Detroit has failed every time it uses that old saw too.

By the way, my apparent hubris on this point is actually bitterness. In the 90s I swore up and down to any Japanese person listening that US automobiles were of good quality and that there must be some "structural problem" to explain the auto trade imbalance between the US and Japan. I bought American cars until it became very impractical to do so. I was wrong wrong wrong. Detroit has used trade sanctions, subsidies, and any strategic device it can to hide the fact that they are boobs and incompetents. What else could explain the failure of companies with so many advantages, along with experience, and access to US resources? They had the best and brightest workers, domestic markets, the best educations, the good will of a nation of 300 million. I really could go on and on. I supported them, then I believed them, then I had faith in them, then I hoped for them. Now I can't even stand to look at them because it is obvious that they just don't care about what they are doing.

Your main point is right spot on sfjp. Maximizing profits is what they are all about. From A to Z that is what they are doing. Making widgets. The Japanese are making automobiles for real people and that fact is also plain as day.

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sfjp330 - "In 1995, average GM cars were over $50,000 in Japan.......New York Times 2/20/95. Regardless of the quality, give me a explantion to above"

I have in country experience during the time mentioned, let me tell you how. I would suggest your information, if correct, indicates that GM were shipping fully loaded cars (at the time Japanese customers were not buying poverty spec cars) to their main importer and distributor, Yanase. US product for the most part was shipped in very low volume and would likely have through single vehicle type approval (the same as for kit cars and self buids), this is an expensive process. Add to that shipping and the extensive preparation required to make the cars at least saleable in country bumps the price up. Add then Yanase's margin, at the time dealers were looking for 15-20% and you have an expensive but still relatively poor quality car.

Other GM product, such as that from Europe, could generate volume and justify standard type approval.

Chrysler's Neon and the GM Saturn at the time went through standard type approval and were priced on a par with local product, but still failed miserably. See my previous post for the reasons why, but suffice to say the US makers attitude hasnt changed in the intervening years.

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Cash for clunkers = American wealth distribution of tax money and thats about it.

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I have mixed emotions, Japanese CEOs have a lot more credibility than the leaders in Washington, but the fair trade arguement also has merit. I dont have a problem with waiting for production to ramp up, as I understand it 3 of the top 5 cars in the "CARS" prgram are Japanese nameplates, so I'm not sure what the complaint is. If I had the affordability last I looked in Erie,Pa. theres a prius in stock if I want it. Call me an old fashioned American, but if it was up to me there'd be a 300C in front of the house. Sorry, but at 6'2 I dont want to spend my last years driving something smaller than a soap box derby car. & I refuse to drive a car without a real grille & bumpers.

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Dontpanic... yeah... that sounds about right. The big three did not establish sales networks. Not sure that their aftercare was good. I am pretty sure that the pricing differential applies to all foreign cars in Japan. Yanase. Sure don't want their hand in my pocket.

To tell the absolute truth, the initial purchase price of American cars does not deter me at all. The inspection costs, the gas mileage, and my experience with American cars deter me. It is not hyperbole. Definitely, if someone gave me a fully loaded American produced automobile for FREE, I would accept it, then sell it or trade down for a Japanese vehicle. I just never want to hassle with a car for the rest of my life.

Cabdriver, you are shorter than I am, by the way, and might have more years ahead of you than I have left. Fair trade has merit. Sure. What's fair? I say it is the plucky 60 year old newcomer that makes a great product and cares about customers and the environment and sticking it to OPEC. Others say that lazy, slovenly, multimillionaires with short memories deserve my sympathy for being so fair in producing SUVs and other shoddy products, then asking for government help.... again. Now Detroit wants to change the rule for CASH FOR CLUNKERS to allow buyers to get Detroit-produced cars next year rather than buy Japanese cars that are already on the lot. Never mind that Toyota and Honda took a risk to ship their cars NOW that Ford and GM did not take, let's just be "fair", and reward everyone equally.

And what is an old fashioned American? Are you really so old fashioned? I think it is still true that the US is the world's number 1 oil producer. Do you know why the US is not in OPEC? The reason is that it is not a major oil EXPORTING country. Part of what turned the US into a net oil importer, reliant on Mideast oil, is fashion: the real grille and bumpers and high speed limits and roomy comfort that so many associate with "luxury" have led to the nightmare of SUVs, stretching to horizon, each with six power seats and two benches, 10 cup holders, and a single human inside. Fashion. I am willing to give up that Trans Am Hummer Americana for a chance to free my people from the whims of OPEC ministers from Venezuela and Iran. Truly, "old fashioned" Detroit catered to the "fashion" of wasting fossil fuels and the tying of US foreign policy to OPEC. Old fashioned Americans are the puppets of nice people from Iran, Nigeria, and Venezuela. How must that feel? I cannot get that image out of my head. Most Americans know it, but do not want to think about it. Why? They gave up. Surrendered. America surrendered in the early 80s when oil prices fell and vehicle sizes went right back to where they were in 1973. I know a country that never stopped fighting the good fight, though.

Japan has pointed the way to self reliance. By driving slowly and safely, smaller cars can give superior performance in all respects. They show that. Higher fuel taxes. Better inspection systems and technologies. Properly inflating their tires. Choosing horses for courses instead of driving a Hummer during their daily commute. Those are useful practices full of self-control, not prideful incontinence. Consequently, "Fashion" in Japan is a very different thing, and it does not put OPEC's interests ahead of its own. Being old-fashioned in Japan is valuing hard work, constant improvement and innovation, good craftsmanship, plain dealing, customer good will, and public service.

I guess the contrast to me is huge. No amount of shiny chrome will distract me from what a vehicle should be: Utilitarian. Reliable. Simply excellent. If I can choose that, support the good guys, and stick it to OPEC every time I turn a key, then so much the better.

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Farmboy: Here is a link:

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/20/news/20iht-autocon.html?scp=4&sq=Japan%20news,%20February%2020,%201995&st=cse

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then asking for government help.... again. Now Detroit wants to change the rule for CASH FOR CLUNKERS to allow buyers to get Detroit-produced cars next year rather than buy Japanese cars that are already on the lot. Never mind that Toyota and Honda took a risk to ship their cars NOW that Ford and GM did not take, let's just be "fair", and reward everyone equally.

As of today, the 80 percent of the trade in "Cash for Clunkers" has been for Asian or Japanese and Korean cars in the U.S. Actually, Toyota and Honda benfit the most from this.

Consequently, "Fashion" in Japan is a very different thing, and it does not put OPEC's interests ahead of its own

90 percent of the oil for Japan comes from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq. And U.S. is protecting the passage for the sea lanes. U.S. gets only 22 percent of the oil from this area of OPEC oil.

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Thank you sfjp for clearing that up. I guess American people have made the choice of a new generation. They will not choose American even if they can wait to do so. 80 percent sounds a lot higher than the near 50% official figure I read 5 days ago, but I will take your word for it. I guess Japanese car manufacturers will come out ok.

And thank you also for clarifying that since Japan moved from coal in the 60s, it has had little choice but to deal with the mideast. It has reacted by limiting its exposure as much as it can, but it sees oil imports as a necessary evil. The data show that.

You say 90% of Japanese oil imports come from the mideast. That seems high, but it might be correct, especially now that Alaskan production is about a third of what it was in 1988. Your "US protecting sea lanes" is stupendously irrelevant. Your statement that the US gets only 22% of the oil from this area is extremely vague. 22% of mideast exports? those imports are 22% of total US imports?

Whichever is the case, you cannot sugarcoat it. My full response is really too good to share, but let me summarize. Since 1970, US oil production is about halved, and US oil imports have about tripled. Since 1970, the oil consumption situation in Japan is nearly unchanged, but its GDP has more than TRIPLED. Only about half of all its energy comes from oil, which is astounding. Japan shows almost flat oil consumption over four decades, the US has continued to use more and more every year. Japan has no oil: None to use, none to squander. Japan, by definition, will never be self-sufficient in its oil use; apparently the US, despite being the world's largest producer, will not be either.

Innocuous links provided. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_consumption#Demand_for_oil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Japan

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Klein2: Here is the information on 90 percent oil import from middle east by Japan.

www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Japan/Oil.html

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klein2: my mistake, the 55 percent is from Korea and Japan with Toyota at 18.9 percent. What I meant was that of the top ten sales model, 8 of 10 were Japanese or Korean models. Here is the link for the info: www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/2009/08/toyota_passes_gm_for_top_cash.html

Also, regarding the oil for U.S. from the middle east, I meant 22 percent of total US Imports.

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The lawmakers said the clunkers program has led to a scarcity of certain fuel-efficient vehicles, and reduced production levels have made it difficult for car companies to replenish their inventories

Isn't one of the aims of this program to help the car manufacturers and get them gearing up their production lines again? It's good to see the Americans finally moving away from their gas guzzlers but you can not expect a production and delivery system to suddenly switch on like a light - it takes time to get moving.

I would like it to go further and say they have to buy hybreds - I know this advantages the Japanese companies but then maybe Ford and GM et al would take these cars more seriously.

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