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Last year, Japan exported 1.5 million vehicles to the United States, while U.S. automakers exported just 8,000. Why aren't U.S. makers selling more in Japan?

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Japan's 3.11 tsunami destruction, recession, deflation, ageing and shrinking population, mounting debts/taxes, narrow roads.....why would American Automakers waste their energy in this maket?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

There's already a ton of cheap, quality choices here.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The German makers are doing just fine. It's a question of giving people what they want, and reasonable terms for financing. Also German models tend to have a good service record and high resale value. I have owned American cars in the past and liked them a lot, but with the exception of a Chrysler PT Cruiser (for the retro styling) I don't think I'd be interested in driving any other models in Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I wonder what the definition of "export" is in this sentence. If you mean that people in America bought that many cars under the Toyota, Honda, Mazda, etc... brands, I understand. But if you mean that that many cars were actually built in Japan and shipped to America and bought by Americans, I find it a little suspicious as so many of the Japanese car companies have factories in America and elsewhere. A "Toyota" doesn't mean made in Japan anymore as we all know.

Could someone be playing games? ;-)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

American cars have a reputation for being big gas-guzzlers that break down frequently. This may be way off the mark with regard to modern American cars, but I have never seen any advertising at all in Japan pointing out the good points of an American car. Come to think of it, I've never seen any advertising at all, full stop. Until they get their product right and market it right, they're never going to do well in Japan.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

GodanNov. 15, 2011 - 08:22AM JST. I find it a little suspicious as so many of the Japanese car companies have factories in America and elsewhere. A "Toyota" doesn't mean made in Japan anymore as we all know.

Most of the major components such as engine, transmission, or electronics are still made in Japan and shipped to U.S. factories. In a future, more of these parts will be shipped from China or other emerging countries to reduce cost and improve profit. Many of the U.S. and Canada produced parts are universal parts that can be fitted to many model of different make.

The point is does America really need 1.5 million Japanese vehicles per year? The U.S. goverment should put heavy tariffs on these import from Japan. U.S. does not need this many cars from one country that flood the market. Go ahead and buy these Japanese cars that are made like beer cans. If you get into accident in the hi speed freeways with cars like Civic, Yaris, or Corolla, chances of getting serious injuries or death is high.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Lack of U.S. Dealerships in Japan and therefore lack of focus by U.S. auto makers on the Japanese market. At Y77 to the dollar even somewhat inferior U.S. cars will sell in Japan but U.S. companies are just not going after Japan. Buick is selling well in China though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

WurthingtonNov. 15, 2011 - 09:20AM JST. Lack of U.S. Dealerships in Japan and therefore lack of focus by U.S. auto makers on the Japanese market. At Y77 to the dollar even somewhat inferior U.S. cars will sell in Japan but U.S. companies are just not going after Japan.

For all intents and purposes, the Japanese auto market to foreign manufacturers is closed to everyone. J-goverment makes sure that no one gets a foothold. Korea don’t sell many cars to Japan either, Korea sold 500 cars, mostly Hyundai to Japan last year. For U.S. cars, there are still barriers to entry that is more effective than tariffs and quotas. They include inspections, complicated distribution systems and taxation. No amount of U.S. argument could persuade Japan to relax the standards. Japan evidently considered it their mission to block vehicles with the smallest, most inconsequential defects. Because of this, U.S. automakers may not regard the Japanese market as worth much of an effort.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

The Japanese consumer tends to be very brand conscious, at least that is true in the large cities. "Super cars" are a dime a dozen in Tokyo. You do see high performance American cars here, but the average American car is made for American roads. The people driving American hot rods or the huge trucks/SUV's are doing it to make a statement. What normal person actually wants to drive a Ford Expedition through Jiyugaoka on a Saturday afternoon? The European (primarily German) cars are already famed for design and safety, largely right-hand drive, and are built for smaller European roads. They are simply a better match for the Japanese driver, and have the pedigree to boot. On the other hand, Japanese carmakers established themselves in the US as cheaper and more fuel efficient than the US makes, and while the truth is that Detroit now makes vehicles every bit as good, if not better, than Japan, brand loyalty already exists. I know more than oneAmerican car loyalist who "converted" after driving a friends Maxima. Combine that with efforts by the Japanese makes to become more "American" (participation in NASCAR, building of full size trucks exclusively for the US market in the US) I just don't see how Detroit can match that success in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I see plenty of European luxury cars in Tokyo... they are jumping through the hoops but yeah... you have to pay up for them as compared to buying one in say the USA. The Japanese government, yes, does have too many hurdles in place in order for foreigners to do business here. The frustrating thing is... the Japanese press never paints Japan as a protectionist country. Ultimately all these "hurdles" are going to end up hurting Japan and at some point Japan will implode even further... its just a matter of a few more years.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

kurumazakaNov. 15, 2011 - 10:07AM JST The European (primarily German) cars are already famed for design and safety, largely right-hand drive, and are built for smaller European roads. They are simply a better match for the Japanese driver, and have the pedigree to boot.

Nothing could convice me that by making changes to right hand drive, you can sell quality BMW and Mercedes in Japan. In May, 2011, BMW sold 2200 cars in Japan, while Mercedes sold 2000. Toyota sold close to 50,000 units, 23 times the number of BMW. BMW has better connection, steering feel, engine, transmission fluidness with road than any Toyota. Tell me what is so good about Toyota that is made from recycled beer can. I guess you never driven a M3, 335I or M5.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Because U.S. Automakers are whiners. I would have sympathy for them if these so-called non tariff barriers are subjected to foreign made vehicles only but the realities state otherwise. These morons would go far as stating that odometer/speedometer to be displayed in KM is a form of non tariff barrier.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Because US cars are crap?

-7 ( +9 / -15 )

I see plenty of European luxury cars in Tokyo... they are jumping through the hoops but yeah... you have to pay up for them as compared to buying one in say the USA

Not really, the prices for German cars are pretty comparable to the US and much cheaper than a lot of Europe due to higher taxes in Europe.

I own a foreign car and it was a pretty good bargain when I bought it! The American cars are hamstrung by a lack of style and quality, something that generally German and Japanese cars are very good. Italian and English cars are good at the style part, at least. American cars? Not so much.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@sfjp330:

Go ahead and buy these Japanese cars that are made like beer cans. If you get into accident in the hi speed freeways with cars like Civic, Yaris, or Corolla, chances of getting serious injuries or death is high.

I wonder where you find that in the US with the tight speed limits there. High speed highways are typically found in Germany with large sections without predefined speed limit. That's probably one of the reasons why German cars are built with steady and reliable quality and high safety standards, because otherwise accidents would be a far greater problem there.

@kurumazaka:

The European (primarily German) cars are already famed for design and safety, largely right-hand drive, and are built for smaller European roads.

I disagree. Germany has some of the widest roads in the world, since the cities rebuilt after WWII where rebuilt with focus to commuters and separation of working and living areas (in fact, the urban architects overdid it a bit). Furthermore, do you really want to say that a Mercedes Benz S Class, BMW M6 or a Porsche (or a Bugatti Veyron) are built for small roads? Sorry, I always have German highways in mind, when I think of these cars.

...

German automakers are associated with high quality and fuel efficiency. Japanese automakers are associated with gadgets and hybrid technology. American automakers are associated with - I'd first think of Hummer, Dodge and SUVs. Sorry, I want a car, not a tank.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sfjp330

For all intents and purposes, the Japanese auto market to foreign manufacturers is closed to everyone.

Completely untrue. There are plenty of foreign cars in Japan, just not too many American ones.

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A lower spec Ford F-150 pickup truck gos for around $20,000 in the USA. The Ford pickups actually are pretty good vehicles... a bit big for Japan but not a bad pickup. Now, if Ford could sell them for Y1.5 mil, I think they might sell a few but meeting extra quality standards in Japan increases the price to a level that just does not make them a good value for the price paid. If U.S. vehicles could be sold in Japan for the same price they are sold at in the states then a lot more would be sold.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Most american cars are built for high-performance, and are large to the point that they are tough to drive around japans narrow roads

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Actually Sfjp330, I drive a 320 msport that I absolutely love! I was raised in a Chevy household where we made lots of snide remarks about snooty Beemer and Benz types. Then my brother in law, who had a 318 msport was transferred overseas and needed us to take his car off his hands. Yup, me the old Chevy guy was "forced" to try a Beemer...and I'm still in one...even got a ball cap! I have driven a 335, have an M3 as my wallpaper and have the BMW blog on this here iPhone. So you don't have to tell me about how good Beemers are. And I don't know about Japan-wide statistics, but there are TONS of Beemers blasting around Tokyo.

Johanes, point taken. Have never been to Germany so was thinking of London and Southern France as my reference point.

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Have you ever seen an advertisement for a US car anywhere? Or any promotion?

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Cadillac tried with their cool Led Zeppelin tune.

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Chevy should really be pushing the new Camaro a lot harder. Cadillac needs to sell an auto version of the CTS, as most drivers here don't have manual licenses. (Separate licenses for auto and manual transmissions are completely foreign to the American mind)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Have you ever seen an advertisement for a US car anywhere? Or any promotion?

YES! On Sunday during the Nippon Series I saw several ads for some new Chevy model (can't remember which).

Wurthington

The Ford pickups actually are pretty good vehicles... a bit big for Japan but not a bad pickup.

I think quite a bit too wide, probably. My car is nowhere near that wide and it's too wide sometimes. I think there could be a niche market here for a smaller pickup, though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

nigelboyNov. 15, 2011 - 10:31AM JST Because U.S. Automakers are whiners. I would have sympathy for them if these so-called non tariff barriers are subjected to foreign made vehicles only but the realities state otherwise. These morons would go far as stating that odometer/speedometer to be displayed in KM is a form of non tariff barrier.

Japan sells 200 vehicles for every ONE vehicle that U.S. sells to Japan. I guess you can call it FREE TRADE? If I was a representative of U.S. goverment, I would cancel all trade agreement regarding automobiles with Japan. U.S. does not need any Japanese cars to survive. They have their own manufacturing and different brands. U.S. can survive without Japanese beer can cars that are extremely dangerous on hi speed freeways.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Johannes WeberNov. 15, 2011 - 10:36AM JST. I wonder where you find that in the US with the tight speed limits there. High speed highways are typically found in Germany with large sections without predefined speed limit. That's probably one of the reasons why German cars are built with steady and reliable quality and high safety standards, because otherwise accidents would be a far greater problem there.

There are difference between Germany and U.S. on type of cars that are moving at high rate of speed. In Germany you really don't see many large vehicles. In the U.S., where fuel is much cheaper, the vehicles are generally heavier, larger cars, trucks and SUV's. If you get into a accident with small Japanese beer can compact cars, the damages and injuries will be that much greater. They can be dangerous.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That's because American car manufacturers are concentrating on China's emerging market instead, where they actually sell the most cars, even more than the U.S.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Because US cars are crap?

You haven't driven a Peugeot lately have you?

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Sfjp330

This isn't about surviving. The issue here is whether or not U.S. Made an effort to actually make an impact in Japan's market and the answer is no. When the dollar was appreciating and their manufacturing sector was struggling, U.S. basically threatened the developing nations with protection measures. This lead to Plaza Accord which lead to devaluation of USD. Japan, in turn, shifted their focus to establish a manufacturing base in U.S. And as a result, over. overn70% of Japanese vehicles bought in U.S. are made in U.S. Go tell your congressman that you don't need Japanese cars made in U.S. because you're not satisfied with the lack of presence by American automakers in Japan. You'll be dismissed as a right wing, flag waving nut.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

They`re not selling any in Europe either.....

You haven't driven a Peugeot lately have you?

Neither have you obviously.

The US creates some fun looking cars which have their own place in the market, the camaro is one or the chrysler 300c..but this market is too small too get any decent numbers. The Germans, French and the Italians (fiat 500, god it`s just so cute) have a much wider range of vehicles. The best selling foreign car has always been the Golf, and for a reason.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's quite simply Japanese cars are built for japanese roads conditions and people, everything about these cars suits the average japanese person. American cars are not built with any of those things in mind and dont suit the japanese consumer except for the very few extroverts who want to stand out. Japanese cars are also the most reliable and economic.

European cars are stylish and built to generally a higher standard than american cars and are more suited to the japanese consumer than amercan brands, however european cars are more to have serviced and repaired than the japanese counterpart. Also you must relaise that comapnies like toyota instill in their staff the loyalty that work for toyota means you drive a toyota, simillar for nissan and other makers here.

At the end of the day american cars dont appeal to the japanese masses, they are not fuel efficicent enough, are too unreliable, too large, not stylish enough and cost to much to repair too often, it's not the japanese fault that americans dont make cars that suit the japanese consumer.

Some nations are good at making cars and some nations are better at making wars.

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Ford make class leading cars of such a value/quality proposition that they top the sales charts - but in Europe! Ford of Europe really excels at providing the mass market with cars that are better than avergae, and desirable to a certain degree (depth of pocket permitting). They outsell their Japanese equivalents significantly.

Sadly though, Ford chooses to ignore these cars in favour of the cars built/sold in America (North and South) that don't have such an appeal and are often outsold by their Japanese branded (may have been built in US) equivalents.

I would love the chance to have an S-Max here. A driveable people carrier!

Nothing makes me laugh more though, than seeing left hand drive Rolls Royces, Jaguars, Bentleys and Aston Martins. How daft is that?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am not sure where you can safely drive and park the huge American cars because the streets and parking spaces in Japan are very narrow for US standards. I seen a few Hummers in Tokyo and I wonder if he has to pay for two parking spaces to park that thing.

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t's quite simply Japanese cars are built for japanese roads conditions and people, everything about these cars suits the average japanese person. American cars are not built with any of those things in mind and dont suit the japanese consumer except for the very few extroverts who want to stand out. Japanese cars are also the most reliable and economic

That is downright backwards. I'm trying to be nice but that is insane. America builds cars for all conditions.

I know how difficult Japan makes it for America to export their vehicles to Japan. You've always been scared of competition.

Japan doesn't want American cars because our ingenuity and design is far superior to any Japanese car. Think about that while you are sitting in McDonalds, texting on your Iphone, wearing JEANS.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Yesterday I spotted a Cadillac, I suppose in Tokyo, they would call that a mansion apartment on wheels?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

JT itself has had an interview/ advertising spot with at least one US car dealer in Japan, within the last couple of months. He made the right corporate noises, about support network, dealerships, CSR, etc., but as others have written, they really do very little to advertise promote their cars, especially outside of Tokyo.

However, there's a Chrysler 300 with the gunslit windows down the road from me in Yokohama, while I regularly see a couple of local H3s, a Suburban, 2-3 Jeep Cherokees, a Cadillac Escalade, and a few Ford Explorers/ Escapes ( local Ford dealer nearby), a garishly striped Mustang, while my neighbour has a Chrysler PT Cruiser. The local Yakuza even has a stretched Cadillac Limo for posing in at night.

But the perception remains; they are big, gas-guzzling, unreliable, with a poor support network if repairs are needed, have poor roadholding/ good only in a straight line, and have a low re-sale value.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Gee NetNinja. The last sentence basically proves that with little effort, Japanese consumers indeed will consume foreign products which they deem to be different or superior.

Thanks for the input.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I don't understand what these "1.5 million vehicles are" since 80% of Japanese cars sold in the States are made in America. Are they cars, or something else?

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That is downright backwards. I'm trying to be nice but that is insane. America builds cars for all conditions.

I know how difficult Japan makes it for America to export their vehicles to Japan. You've always been scared of competition.

You know how to entertain us :)

1st experience - rental car from Philadelphia airport (GM something - can't remember model): Light switch came off in hand, car wouldn't start for 4-5 minutes, and really uncomfortable.

2nd experience in Guam - Ford Mustang. Amazing technology. It's steering and braking system was engineered by a clever set of linked sponges that completely removed all road feel and made steering closer to steering a boat with a rudder. Braking was interesting.

Other examples too, but I think the point is clear. Most motoring journalists laugh at US cars, that says a lot.

Thats what I think about when in Yoshinoya, browsing on my Toshiba, wearing my Edwins! :)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Zichi,

I believe Prius and Lexus are made in Japan and are exported worldwide. There are several models among the manufacturers that are exclusively made in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

nigelboy,

thank you.

to others,

BTW America builds many great cars.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

NetNinja

That is downright backwards. I'm trying to be nice but that is insane. America builds cars for all conditions.

it is not japanese's problem that your manufactures suffer from blind ignorance as you have shown with this remark.

American cars are down right backwards.

My statement was based on actual fact, japanese make cars suitable for the domestic market and coincedently some of the attributes appeal to american consumers obviously.

Blind ignorance is not a sales tool netninja.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

sfjp330

Japan sells 200 vehicles for every ONE vehicle that U.S. sells to Japan. I guess you can call it FREE TRADE?

Foreign manufacturers outsell US manufacturers in the US as well - is that not FREE TRADE?

It's not Japan's fault if everybody makes better quality, nicer style cars than Detroit.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"Some nations are good at making cars and some nations are better at making wars"

sigh The nations that are better at making wars do so in order to allow the nations that are good at making cars do so. But in recent years the nations that are better at making wars build cars of roughly equal quality.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"It's not Japan's fault if everybody makes better quality, nicer style cars than Detroit"

Like that new Nissan Townpod that looks like a frog? Ha ha!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@zichi

BTW America builds many great cars.

I think 'many' might be stretching it, but there are definitely some. The Corvette rocks, and for some reason I really like the look of the Dodge Challenger (too much 'Dukes of Hazzard' as a kid)? But these are niche cars, and the focus is (or should be) on mainstream stream volume cars. In that category it is hard to think of anything notable. As I said earlier though, Ford in Europe is hugely successful - how can the DNA be so different?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

US Automakers have decent quality in terms of the mechanical these days. And Microsoft/Ford did a pretty decent job on the crazy electronics. But GM and Chrysler just stinks it up with the fit and finish of the interior trim. It's so plastic fantastic. Even the inside of a Cadillac looks cheap. A base model Toyota Corolla has better interior trim than GM's top of the line. On the exterior anything that looks metal is mylar wrapped plastic and you can tell a mile away.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

because there is a bigger market for cars in the US than in Japan. in the US, even low-income people can afford to buy a car. and, why buy a car when the public transport system is great (at least in metropolitan areas)?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan is always trying to make this excuse that American cars are too big for Japanese roads......rubbish. I drive here everyday, all the time. I've driven all kinds of cars in Japan. Big ones, compacts, you name it. It has nothing to do with the roads, it's the driver.

In Japan, I've seen more accidents on straight roads than any curve, corner, or crank.

Furthermore, Japanese automakers don't know how to build a car anyway. You know why? They don't know what it's for. No bench seats, no wide body inside, they don't know how the backseat is used. Yeah, some of you know what I'm talking about. Ol' lookout point.

Japan designs it cars like it's women. No shoulders, very flat, you can't even glide your fingers across the body of the car.

Toyota Prius is a stupid car. You can't even hear the thing coming. Yeah, that's Japanese, they love Ninja's. Boring as hell.

Enough banter, the bottom line is this. Japan cheats. It's not free trade. This is a country that hungers for variety and Deep Pocket lobbyists make sure they can't get it.

@Export Blind Ignorance? Ignorance is not knowing. So how many cars have you had? When I was 16 I had 2 cars already. I've probably had more cars than you've had girlfriends. I know how to choose cars. I'll never buy Japanese after my experiences with their cars. I go right past Japanese cars on the highway. When I'm parked at the convenience store, the girls say - "Kakoii" Got some bad news for you. My car isn't Japanese.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Like that new Nissan Townpod that looks like a frog?

Oh, there sure are some goofy ones, too! But in general... Older US cars were great but the ones from the last 15 years or so, not so nice. The one exception is/was Chrysler, who make some really nicely styled cars (at least in the exterior, some of the interiors are bland crap).

BTW who's the Negative Nelly thumbing down pretty much every single comment in this post?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well the thing is, Japanese car companies also have plants in the US which provides jobs, US cars being exported to Japan are mostly full exports. If the US car companies decided to open plants within Japan, then it might be more welcoming and increase sales. The new TPP taking place, would actually make things a lot easier for US full exports and Japanese full exports of their vehicles as there is no tarrifs extra taxes or red tape. Another thing, some US car companies have large stakes in Japanese auto companies, such as Mazda, Isuzu, Subarau etc just to name a few.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Netnin

Enough banter, the bottom line is this. Japan cheats. It's not free trade. This is a country that hungers for variety and Deep Pocket lobbyists make sure they can't get it.

There is no pent up demand for US cars here, that is the bottom line. European makers are doing well because the cars they offer in the segments they offer them are better than the local sourced cars. That IS free trade isn't it? US cars can't sell here because they just don't appeal, that is also free trade.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Netninja

@Export Blind Ignorance? Ignorance is not knowing. So how many cars have you had?

I have had literally hundreds (including many american & japanese models) and was driving at the age of 14, i have owned cars for over 40 years, and have dealt & traded in 1,000s and 1,000s so does that answer your question, I have more knowledge about cars in the little toe on my left foot than you have in your whole body. I have been involved in the auto industry for over 40years.

American cars are not popular here full stop get over it and accept they are too big, too clunky, too badly finished, too thirsty, too unreliable, too unstylish, too ugly and too dumb.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I don't think it has nothing to do with the quality of the cars being built in the US or Japan. It's just not feasible to have an American car here in Japan unless its Japanese sized or smaller. Since I actually drive a car here, I know you can't make turns down these tight narrow streets with wide vehicles, mainly because a lot of personal properties have concrete block walls very close to the edge of the road. It's just not worth the daily risk of banging up a large car.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hahahaha Export. Okay, hands down you win this round of CarTalk. I most certainly can't compete with the numbers you put up. I still got you on the girlfriend part though, HA. You didn't rebut that. Let the Japanese have their cars. I wish you well in the car industry.

The only thing left is my opinion which is this. Whenever I sit in a Japanese car, I just know and feel, that it was not made for me. Japanese cars were made for Japan and they hope they can sell them overseas. The smartest decisions were localized models that adapted well. Honda Accord, Toyota Camry. Other than that, they're the most boring cars I've ever driven.

I love the car I have now. It was designed by Pininfarina and without tipping my hand as to my identity, it's a great car.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

mitsubishi is actually owned by dodge, it is an american brand. mazda is owned by ford, also an american brand

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'm American. Do I want a US-made car? Never did, thank you. Do I want one to drive in Japan when gas is almost $8/gallon, where the car wouldn't corner well in most Japanese cities and towns, and parking would be a real pain? Again, no thanks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Jared Norman, I was under the same impression but there might be an update to that info.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Cheers Netninja sounds like you have a nice ride then well done !

Pininfarina have had a hand in many cars though so you could be driving an Austin A40 or a Ferrari Enzo, but doubt it's either to be honest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Because US cars are crap!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I agree with cactusJack and nigelboy that there's lack of good , agressive marketing-as if the US carmakers don't really care if their cars sell in Japan or not.

I agree also with V.Jefferies- US cars are just too big and clumsy for the Japanese roads and Japanese drivers. They should design something smaller, lighter and less gas-consuming.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The top rated Sedans in the U.S. nowadays are: 1.Hyundai 2. Kia 3. Ford 4.Toyota 5. Jaguar - I think that says everything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

YongYang,

Because US cars are crap!

You sure about that? Here are the top 10 car manufacturers in terms of recalls (number of vehicles affected) for 2010 in order from highest to lowest.

Toyota (Japanese) Honda (Japanese) Chevrolet (US) Nissan (Japanese) Chrysler (US) Ford (US) Hyundai (Korean) BMW (German) Mazda (Japanese) Mitsubishi (Japanese)

So as you can see in the top 10 there are 5 Japanese manufacturers and 3 US manufacturers. So to make a blanket statement like US cars are crap l would say maybe not maybe Japanese ones arnt as good as everyone makes out. And hasnt Toyota just started another recall of 550,000 vehicles.

I can say as personal choice having driven Fords, Holdens, Toyota's and Mitsubishi's, while the Toyota's have better quality finish than the others they are really no better than the rest in terms of reliability. It all comes down to personal choice and your requirements personally for what l need at home in Australia l will not go past a Ford. While l am here in Japan l drive a Toyota because of size etc, for the Ford l drive in Oz just wouldnt get around here while the Toyota l drive here l wouldnt feel safe driving in Oz. Its as simple as that different vehicles have different purposes and therefore fit the market better. Japanese companies make cars that suit Japan pure and simple. They are no better or worse than US, Australian, Brutish or German vehicles.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

They include inspections, complicated distribution systems and taxation.

sfjp330, please tell us which inspections US or foreign cars in general have to perform which Japanese makers don't have to do? Please tell me by what law any maker is forced to set up a complicated distribution system? Where does taxation discriminate foreign makers? Please come up with facts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

american cars are too big for japanese roads. oh yeah but they still drive those escalades, cadillacs, lincolns - i have even seen quite a few HUMMERS on these narrow roads. pfft.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That's because American car manufacturers are concentrating on China's emerging market instead, where they actually sell the most cars, even more than the U.S.

Anyways, just to illustrate my point earlier:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/25/business/la-fi-autos-gm-20110125

GM: US 2010 sales - 2.2 million China 2010 sales - 2.4 million

Incidentally: Toyota 2010 China sales - 846,000 Ford 2010 China sales - 582,000

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jared Normal

mitsubishi is actually owned by dodge, it is an american brand.

Mitsubishi has been Japanese owned for years. Dodge isn't even American anymore, it's owned by FIAT.

mazda is owned by ford, also an american brand

Ford owns only a tiny bit of Mazda these days.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why aren't U.S. makers selling more in Japan?

Because America only makes crap cars, and Japan has enough crappy cars of its own.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Now you can buy Japanese cars to give you that extra glow of radiation. Stay away from any Japanese car made after 2010. Even if they are manufactured in North America many of of the critical parts come from Japan.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Now you can buy Japanese cars to give you that extra glow of radiation.

Oh, there you are with your extremely off topic radiation talk. You realize this has nothing to do with Fukushima Daiichi whatsoever?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

may be Japan has different " standards /requirements " for cars to be" legally " driven. Compare to US market, it's not cost effective for US makers to re-tool to produce cars geared towards the j. market while it makes more sense for J carmakers to make cars specifically for the US.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is basically the wrong question. American cars do not sell anywhere else in the world except in the USA and in some parts, parely (I noticed that Japanese cars seemed to predominate in San Francisco). The only American brand that has an international presence is Ford. American cars are dogged by size, reliability problems, fuel efficiency and the fact that the companies have no interest in making right-hand drive vehicles. And most of them are bankrupt.

The more realistic question would be why are more European cars not sold in Japan? The answer would be cost (German especially) and reliablity (French especially). Although even the relatively poor reliability of French cars should not be a problem in Japan where people seem to change their car every four years or so.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And another thing while we are on the subject, none of the japanese auto makers received any goverment bail outs with public money, all of them stood on their own two feet. If it wasnt for Obama their would be no american auto industry to speak off as they were bloated inefficient debt ridden piles of doggie doo doo.

Even the koreans make better cars than the US and that is saying something as 10 or 20 years ago korean cars were absolute crap, now they are starting to rival the japanese brands, and pretty soon the chinese companies will have surpassed the US makers, but i think you are safe with not coming last in the auto quality stakes as the french will hold that title just behind the russians.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Spidapig24.... Your recall figures mean nothing.... Go back the last 20 years and see who has the most recalls.. And i'm not talking about fixing a cigarette lighter either... Better yet... go back and check statistics on which brand of cars catch on fire in the middle of traffic ... Consumer reports has consistently rated Japanese cars at the top... and American cars and European cars at the bottom... as of late... American cars have scored higher but only for initial quality... but that means nothing because real reliability is having the car after a few years not the first 30 days or so..... i will never buy another American car given the choice... and i have owned many....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ah_so,

there are quite a lot of German cars around here. However, unlike Europe, where German cars mean reliable quality for a reasonable price for most of the people (just look at Spidapig's list and think about why German automakers are underrepresented in the list of recalls), German cars in Japan mean Mercedes Benz, BMW and Porsche for most people. These cars are not even cheap in Germany. How should they be cheap here (they might get affordable if the Yen stays high and the Euro stays low)? But here in Japan they are a status symbol, which is considered even better then Japanese luxury cars (Lexus and maybe a few upper-class models of the other makers).

One reason why the success of German cars is a bit stunted in Japan is diesel fuel. German companies build some of the best diesel engines in the world, but in Japan diesel is rather unpopular. Secondly, diesel engines are perfectly suited for smooth running on long distances with low fuel consumption. Traffic on most Japanese roads has an extreme amount of stop and go. Country lanes also have plenty of small roads crossing with traffic lights, whereas Germany tries to connect important roads smoothly. Therefore, Japanese traffic is perfect for hybrid cars with their efficient gear and energy recovery after breaking. On German roads, hybrid cars perform often much worse, because the acceleration-deceleration patterns in both countries are different.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan already has small cars that get good mileage, but until fairly recently, the US car companies didn't have much to offer that will much good, so people bought imports.

The new Fords look pretty good, though, and get decent mileage, so probably things will even up a bit from here on. Fewer Japanese cars in the US, though, may lead to fewer jobs at those Japanese plants in the US and at their suppliers, so a it's not necessarily time to celebrate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Aren't a lot of Toyotas and Hondas already built in the U.S? What exactly are the exporting to the states?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Export, the past few years japan had a campaign, if u turn in your old car in for a new one, we will pay you x amount of yen. Do u know how many people bought new cars during that year or 2? I think they spent even more than obama did.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

naruhodo1 yes i do know the figures actually, i get given that data regarding the numbers of new and used cars sold. The figures are far far less than what obama gave to the US makers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess the new Chevy Sonic will sell well enough in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just some corrections here:

http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

1) Ford never took bailout money. GM and Chrysler did. Ford (1.8m) is back at #2 in the U.S., behind GM (2.1m) and ahead of Toyota (1.3m) and Chrysler (1.1m).

2) The largest auto market in the world is no longer the U.S. but rather China. There, the largest foreign automaker is GM (2.2m), even more than its U.S. sales. China and U.S. comprise about 40% of GM's sales.

3) Partly due to the Japan tsunami and Thailand flood, Toyota is expected to cede worldwide #1 to GM for 2011.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In a nutshell: American cars are GAS-GUZZLERS!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gonemad Nov. 15, 2011 - 05:42PM JST. Please tell me by what law any maker is forced to set up a complicated distribution system? Please come up with facts.

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.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

nigelboy Nov. 15, 2011 - 12:55PM JST. This isn't about surviving.

It is about surviving for American workers. GM filed bankruptcy three years ago and Michigan, the main state for auto prodution has over 14 percent unemployment rate caused by downsizing in U.S. auto industry. Over $900 million dollars were paid annually to retired GM workers until 2008. Toyota destroyed GM to bankruptcy and these retired GM workers no longer will receive a pension during golden years of their life. Toyota topped GM has a biggest seller of cars in 2008. What did U.S. congress do? Well, the sudden accelation inquiry was more of a containment of Toyota. The U.S. goverment will find a way to contain Toyota. Future will not be business as usual for Japanese companies. The Japanese companies does not know the meaning of self restraint. With the problem that U.S. has, does U.S. need this many Japanese imports? Toyota don't care about U.S. problems.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There's a guy in my neighborhood who owns a black Chevy pick-up truck.

It looks good, riding on the streets of Japan...

Personally, I like classic cars... if I could own a Mach 2 Jaguar, the world would be right, in Mudville...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I recall wondering 30 years ago why the U.S. automakers refused to make right-hand drive vehicles and orange turning signals for the rear portion of their vehicles. This small modification was a serious problem for Japanese people that desired U.S. vehicles because it was required to register a vehicle in Japan, and the only solution was to put additional yellow turn-signals (bumper mounted) on the rear of your brand new Camaro, Cadillac, Lincoln, or Mustang. At that time, all U.S. vehicles had red turn signals on the rear portion of the vehicle. Due to this oversight by U.S. automakers, Japanese and European consumers passed on purchasing Ford, Chevy, Mercury, GM, Pontiac, etc. and opted for BMW, Mercedes, VW, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sfjp330, what you write about the keiretsu is correct, but what is the relation to foreign car imports? I have never seen any meaningful car maker in any developed country that doesn't use it's own distribution. Can you go to a GM dealer in the US and order a new Toyota? Certainly not. All new cars they will sell you are, guess what, GM brands. What do you expect for Japan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The more you guys attack American cars and try to promote Japanese cars, the more I don't want any Japanese cars. It all comes down to who is dependent on who. I will buy an American car and drive it proudly. My American flag will be in the back seat.

I say we do this for a couple decades or so and see who comes out on top.

The bottom line is this....when you sit in a Japanese car, you can almost immediately recognize that the designer NEVER thought about you for a second. Who is foolish enough to buy something from someone who doesn't care about you AT ALL. Those of you living in Japan know this to be true. When you sit on the train, when you go to a restaurant, when you ride a bus. They never planned for your long legs and arms.

If you think American cars are clumsy you simply don't know how to drive. The skill level of American drivers is much higher. We are more knowledgeable about our vehicles. Hell, even my sister knows how to do her own oil changes.

I still say, keep those Japanese cars in Japan. In America, where we drive, they are hazards on the road. They lack power and control. On top of that, they are aluminum death traps.

San Francisco loves Japanese Hybrids. Yeah, I got an Episode of South Park I'd like you to see. They're just SMUG.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

This is not what the question asks you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They never planned for your long legs and arms.

But they're right on the button for my 5'2" frame. There must be lots of fellow short-arses in the US, happily buying up those 1.5 million Japanese cars.

And while the mod points out that you're not answering the question, I think you provide important clues to the answer, if your attitude is the typical US car-makers' attitude. For example -

Who is foolish enough to buy something from someone who doesn't care about you AT ALL.

How much does the US auto manufacturer care about Japanese customers? Are the cars tailored to the Japanese market? Smaller seats in smaller cars, with good mileage and the steering wheel on the right side? (I honestly don't know the answers to these questions, so I had a look at the websites of Ford Japan and Chevrolet Japan; both sites show cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side, while mileage - something the Japanese consumer is very interested in - doesn't seem to be mentioned at all.)

If you think American cars are clumsy you simply don't know how to drive.

I guess you never heard the old adage, 'The customer is king'? Insulting the customer is not the way to up your sales.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

NetNinjaNov. 15, 2011 - 02:59PM JST

Furthermore, Japanese automakers don't know how to build a car anyway. You know why? They don't know what it's for. No bench seats, no wide body inside, they don't know how the backseat is used. Yeah, some of you know what I'm talking about. Ol' lookout point.

I think Netnija is stuck in a 1950's time warp.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The question is-- why do so many Americans like driving Japanese cars ? Quite simply, Japan makes nice reliable user friendly cars. As an ex mechanic, I have worked on all brands of cars, American, English, French and have owned American cars and have built Hotrods. It is the Japanese cars that impressed me the most. American cars are just not so suited for Japanese conditions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One could ask a comparable rhetoric question:

Why aren't U.S. makers selling more in Germany?

Germany does not have high import tariffs and the steering wheel is on the same side. Still German cars sell well in the US, but US made cars have a hard time in Germany.

On the other side, German cars sell well in Japan, and of course, Japanese cars sell well in Germany.

Well the point is, the European daughters of some of the US firms like Opel (General Motors) and Ford can make decent cars. But the designs for Europe (in most cases) are much different from the designs for the US. on the other side, the designs for the European market somehow do not go so well for the US market (with the Ford Mondeo a positive exception).

What does this mean for Japan:

Maybe not everybody knows, but one type of Family Van sold by Subaru in Japan is actually an Opel Zafira (European model) with just a different name plate. Also the Opel Meriva (European model) is similar to the Suzuki Solio. So there are cars, made by the European daughters of US companies, but maybe not everybody knows, because the name plate does not say. (Like a Nissan Moco is not made by Nissan but is actually a Suzuki Mama-Wagon).

Cleo:

You mention mileage. Good point. In the recent advertisements by Ford in the Scientific American, they tell about the mileage, because this is one of their recent improvements.

Japanese makers modify their lineup depending on the country they are selling. For example K-cars seem to be limited to Japan, although I expect they would sell very well in crowded narrow Italian cities.

About mileage - several car makers in Germany (especially VW and Audi) have very sophisticated diesel engines, which even beat the well known Toyota Prius, when driving under German conditions, including highway. Actually even a Toyota Avensis Diesel gets better mileage in Germany than a Toyota Prius. But until recently the Diesel fuel quality in Japan was not sufficient, therefore Diesel engine cars in Japan are still regarded as dirty. Japanese companies have the technology, but sometimes do not use them for the domestic products.

On the other hand, most US cars (not the ones made by European daughters) are well known for being over-sized and gasoline hungry. This can partially be traced back to the Big-block V8 engine thinking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Everybody, I've figured it out. I know how to answer this question. The Tokyo Motor Show is just around the corner. So lets go there and find out. All we have to do is hit the Press Conferences and speak to some people at the venue.

I won't hesitate to ask: "Why aren't U.S. makers selling more in Japan?" What better place or time to find out the truth?

I'd bet money it's mostly about the restrictions placed on American Imports. I'm also going to ask if the TPP will affect this in any way.

Furthermore, it'll give us a chance to look at all these cars and get down to the bottom of this argument. Just try not to drool when you see those American dream machines.

Almost a 100 or more posts now. The Tokyo Motor Show is the only way we are going to SEE the truth. Post this question again after a few days of the Tokyo Motor Show and then most of us should be more knowledgeable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'd bet money it's mostly about the restrictions placed on American Imports.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was the answer that came from the US manufacturers. But looking at the websites .....sorry, but they really don't look as if they're trying. The prices aren't that bad, but the potential customer has to really dig to find the info to help decide if he wants to fork out to put one of these tanks on the road in Japan. Most would assume that after-sales service was a bad as pre-sales service, and go elsewhere. I know I would.

Just try not to drool when you see those American dream machines.

lol never drooled over a car in my life. A chocolate cake, a basketful of puppies, an imac, George Clooney, yes - a lump of oily tin on wheels, never.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd bet money it's mostly about the restrictions placed on American Imports.

NetNinja, same for you: please name the restrictions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

US cars really are crap and look terrible too. The last beautiful US car was the Corvette Stingray from the 50s. The Dodge Viper is quite groovy too but that's about it. As soon as they started making those butt-ugly station wagons with the wood paneling on the outside, they created a generation of traumatized people! The Ford Taurus actually made me feel uncomfortable just to see one. And that thing that seems to look like a Bentley from the front is disgraceful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

serendipitous Nov. 16, 2011 - 11:43PM JST. US cars really are crap and look terrible too. The last beautiful US car was the Corvette Stingray from the 50s. The Dodge Viper is quite groovy too but that's about it. The Ford Taurus actually made me feel uncomfortable just to see one. And that thing that seems to look like a Bentley from the front is disgraceful.

Disgraceful? Well, how many classic collector cars that were made in Japan from the 50's? Hardly none. Maybe 240Z (copied from Jaguar XKE) or Mazda Cosmo in the 60's and 70's? There are only few handful of collectors car that has any value form Japan. In the U.S., you have 56 T-Bird, 56 Chevy, 63 split rear window corvette, 66 Shelby Mustang and AC Cobra, 68 Z28 Camero, 70 Hemi Cuda & Roadrunner, Boss 302 & Boss 429 Mustangs, and list goes on and on. Point is Japanese cars are like fashion and the styles fade quickly. The European cars, especially BMW and Mercedes change their styles gradually and age gracefully, even 2000 BMW 328CI or 2002 M3 still looks great today after 10 years. Tell me any Japanese cars age gracefully.

You seem to know very little about cars. Americans cars, depending on what you buy is still a good value. The Ford Fusion with the 2.5 engine gets better gas milage and probably more comfortable than a Camry. Fusion is a dependable car. Ford also has 3.5 and 3.7 (derived from Lincoln engline), a great motor. The new Mustang 3.7 with 305hp is a bargain at $22K in the states. The optional 5.0 with 412hp is around $30K base price. No Japanese car, even 370Z or Mitsubishi Evolution STi can match the performance of 5.0 Mustang. Also, Ford makes best trucks in the U.S.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

ExportExpertNov. 15, 2011 - 03:25PM JST American cars are not popular here full stop get over it and accept they are too big, too clunky, too badly finished, too thirsty, too unreliable, too unstylish, too ugly and too dumb.

Everybody makes excuse that American cars are too big, gas guzzling, and have not adjusted to Japanese market to have any impact. If that is the case, then make comparison with comparable Korean maker, Hyundai, which makes Sonata and many other good quality cars. Hyundai makes better car or comparable to quality of Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan and closing in quickly to level of Toyota and Honda. High end Equus is better than anything Japan produces other than Lexus LS460. What happened when Koreans try to sell in Japan? They manage to sell only 500 per year. At the same time, Japan exported 21,000 vehicles to Korea. Regardless of Hyundai making engineering changes for Japan market, the J-goverment and J-companies will not allow greater market share. The same tactics of established keiretsu system means that no foreign companies can penetrate. 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. If Hyundai cannot do it, who can?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sfjp330

I never said Japan made better cars than the US in the 50s, just that US cars have looked pretty crap for the past 50 years (with very few exceptions). They basically aren't very popular in continental Europe, the UK or Australia either. As for the Korea-Japan trade imbalance (and for the lack of Japanese cars produced in the 50s), historical reasons and recovery from war are largely to blame. You mention "economical" and the Mustang in the same paragraph. I'm sure the Mustang is very economical! ahem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

serendipitousNov. 17, 2011 - 06:58AM JST. You mention "economical" and the Mustang in the same paragraph. I'm sure the Mustang is very economical! ahem.

The 2012 Ford Mustang with V6, 3.7 engine, 305hp has Goverment EPA ratings of 19mpg city, and 31mpg hwy. The freeway miles is comparable to 2011 4 cylinder Toyota Camry EPA rating at 32mpg freeway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The U.S. goverment should put heavy tariffs on these import from Japan

To keep them from buying what they want?

the Japanese auto market to foreign manufacturers is closed to everyone.

Mercedes sells the S600 series here, a $180,000 car. They don't even market it in the US. I see plenty of PT Cruisers in Kobe, as well as a few Chrysler 300's. Volkswagen and Audi have always done well here too. The Lexus cars you see in Japan are all imported from the US.

Who is foolish enough to buy something from someone who doesn't care about you AT ALL.

Why, that's it in a nutshell. I've seen this debate rage for 30 years in the media. The Detroit big wigs from Ford et al come to Japan crying for 'free trade' but they have refused, all this time, to make cars with right-hand steering. It's damned claustrophobic to drive on the left with the steering wheel on the left. Interviews on TV with actual Japanese car buyers show them saying 'I'd like American cars if the steering wheel was on the other side'. How many times do they have to be told?

Another point is that American cars just aren't designed attractively. The aforementioned Chrysler 300 is among the ugliest cars I've ever seen. Clunky interiors, unexciting exteriors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 2012 Ford Mustang with V6, 3.7 engine, 305hp has Goverment EPA ratings of 19mpg city, and 31mpg hwy. The freeway miles is comparable to 2011 4 cylinder Toyota Camry EPA rating at 32mpg freeway.

sfjp330, just how relevant is this for the typical Japanese user who rarely drives his car on a freeway? You should rather compare the city ratings, the ones which you have left out deliberately...

The same tactics of established keiretsu system means that no foreign companies can penetrate.

You wrote this again, but you missed to explain how the keiretsu can manage to keep off foreign makers from the Japanese market.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The Lexus cars you see in Japan are all imported from the US." NO! All Lexus vehicles except the RX350 are made in Japan. The RX350 is made in Ontario, Canada. None are made in the U.S.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very simple, Japanese vehicles, principally cars, were designed for the Japanese market where small size and fuel efficiency are critical, due to the limited land for roads, and the need to import almost 100% of its oil. While the U.S. companies were focusing their energies on building large vehicles -- like SUV's and trucks. And selling tons of them -- so much so that Toyota, Nissan and Honda all have them now in their U.S. lineups. So when the market in the U.S. tuned towards cars/fuel-efficient vehicles, the Japanese were best prepared to take advantage of that. And now that the U.S is finally making quality small cars, they are too far behind in Japan -- where the average person keeps their cars about ten years.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

gonemadNov. 17, 2011 - 09:29PM JST. just how relevant is this for the typical Japanese user who rarely drives his car on a freeway? You should rather compare the city ratings, the ones which you have left out deliberately...

Deliberately? Well, compare notes. If you want to compare comparable cars to 2011 Toyota Camry 2.5 with the 2011 Ford Fusion 2.5, the Fusion gets 23mpg city/33 mpg hwy . Now Camry gets only 22 city/ 32 hwy. Why is 2011 Camry with all the technology gets less gas milage than a Fusion? Toyota is falling behind, don't you think? Ford Focus...well, 24 city/35 hwy, compare that with Toyota Corolla, 26 city / 34 hwy. How about comparing Mustang 19 city/31 fwy rating with idential size engine 3.7 V6, the Nissan 370Z gets 18city/26hwy, Acura TL only 18 city /26hwy? Should I go on? The Toyota Camry with 3.5 V6, only 20 city /29hwy. Point is, these Ford products get just as good of a gas milage or better then leading seller in Japan. What is your point?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sfjp330, my comment was specifically about your comparison of the Mustang versus Camry. I don't say that Detroit makers can't build fuel-efficient cars. But the Mustang is ill-suited to the Japanese market when it comes to fuel efficiency in a similar way as the Prius hybrid is not necessarily a good choice for many consumers in the US.

I'd prefer to return to the trade barrier discussion, but you stay silent on that one...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The Lexus cars you see in Japan are all imported from the US." NO! All Lexus vehicles except the RX350 are made in Japan. The RX350 is made in Ontario, Canada. None are made in the U.S.

Really? When I was looking at them I thought that's what I was told.....although it could have been DH that said that and not the dealer...it's 2 years ago now, I could very well be mistaken!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CrazyJoe, you're right! Made in Kyushu, thanks for setting me straight! Have to tell DH tonight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Furthermore, it'll give us a chance to look at all these cars and get down to the bottom of this argument. Just try not to drool when you see those American dream machines.

Netninja - sarcasm does not always come across clearly on the web!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In the late sixties Honda made a S 600 and I bought three of them and shipped them to the States and everyone wanted to buy them from me. WHY? Because I got 70 miles to the gallon and I could drive frim San Francisco to Portland Oregon for peanuts. Golly, I wish Honda would make this model again. I would buy a half dozen of them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd prefer to return to the trade barrier discussion, but you stay silent on that one...

Agreed. 100+ messages and no one has yet to come up with these so-called "non-tariff" barriers in Japan. Keiretsu?? Another word for manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and after sales service. which is sorely lacking in American companies trying to operate in Japan.

And why is sfjp330 putting up MPG on Japanese cars made in U.S.?? Does he bother to check the actual gas efficiency of Japanese vehicles sold in Japan compared with U.S. vehicles sold in Japan? (i.e. Corolla versus Chevy Sonic (Aveo))??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

nigelboyNov. 19, 2011 - 03:04AM JST. Does he bother to check the actual gas efficiency of Japanese vehicles sold in Japan compared with U.S. vehicles sold in Japan? (i.e. Corolla versus Chevy Sonic (Aveo))??

Tell us what they are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nigelboyNov. 19, 2011 - 03:04AM JST. Does he bother to check the actual gas efficiency of Japanese vehicles sold in Japan compared with U.S. vehicles sold in Japan? (i.e. Corolla versus Chevy Sonic (Aveo))??

So you want to compare gas milage with Chevy (Aveo), made by Daewoo of Korea to Corolla? This is a Daewoo product that GM subcontracted to build. We are not comparing cars made in Korea with Japanese made car. The subject is about U.S. and Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gonemadNov. 18, 2011 - 09:23AM JST. I'd prefer to return to the trade barrier discussion, but you stay silent on that one...

Do you know why most people in Japan buy the 1.5 litre cars? Because the annual J-goverment road tax for it is less than it would be for the 2.0L boxer. The road tax is probably the biggest thing and that is the main deterrant that makes American cars unattractive in Japan. Why don't J-goverment eliminate the road tax so that U.S. cars have better opportunity to sell? This is the main obstacle on why U.S. cars sell less. American cars’ engines offer more displacement, but also require more tax to be paid. Anything over 3.0L ends up in punitive taxation, and if you’re on a budget in a country where everything is more expensive and everywhere is narrower, why would you buy a car designed for a place where the streets are wide and gasoline flows like a river through the heart of every town? You wouldn’t, and that’s not touching the sha-ken (car maintenance inspection).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Netninja, I feel the same way, or complete opposite I guess. The harder you try to promote american cars with your usual non-sense, the less I want them, which is hard to do since I don't want americans to begin with. Sometimes it's better to acknowledge weakness rather than exaggerating your beloved mediocre products (and I'm being nice when I say american cars = mediocre).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So you want to compare gas milage with Chevy (Aveo), made by Daewoo of Korea to Corolla? This is a Daewoo product that GM subcontracted to build. We are not comparing cars made in Korea with Japanese made car. The subject is about U.S. and Japan.

No. I want to compare the 2011 Aveo made in Michigan to Toyota Corolla made in Japan.

http://www.chevrolet.co.jp/sonic/specifications/

http://toyota.jp/corollaaxio/spec/spec/index.html

Do you know why most people in Japan blah blah blah

Those aren't barriers. They are "excuses." What's next sfjp330? Build bigger roads in Japan so that U.S. cars can fit tem? Convert to the English measurement system?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

nigelboyNov. 19, 2011 - 05:09AM JST. Those aren't barriers. They are "excuses."

Maybe U.S. should make it "excuses". U.S. do the same "excuse" as Japan rule of road tax to 2.0 litre or bigger to all the Japanese imports. Fair is fair don't you think?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmm. I don't get it. Why is a tax that is the same for Japanese domestic cars a barrier to imports? Seems like a level playing field to me. And the tax difference is not all that great. 39,500 yen for 2.0 vs. 45,000 yen for 2.5 liters. sfjp330, you seem like an expert, so could you explain this? By the way, it seems customs duty for import cars is 0% in Japan vs. 2.5% in the USA. One would think that the US has an advantage if they made cars that the Japanese customer would want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

8,000 Japanese with taste. 1.5 million Americans with no taste.

There, does that explain it?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

RIGHT!!! Who gave me a negative, and WHY??? Grrr....

;8)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

2 negatives already. Hmmm.... let's try it the other way around.

8,000 Japanese with no taste. 1.5 million US citizens with taste!

There, better?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Hide_Suzuki

Sad when you don't even realize that my last post was basically me "Throwing down the Gauntlet"...no you couldn't figure that out.......soooo now I have to pick it up and hit you over the head with it.

The Tokyo Motor Show is just around the corner. I'm talking first hand comparisons and the most important thing is this. Getting down to the bottom of this. I really want the answer to this question.

Why aren't U.S. makers selling more in Japan?

What I propose is that we go out and get the "Paydirt", "Proof", and better yet, "First-Hand feedback". All the posts are either opinion or speculation for the most part. I'll ask the questions and get the answers. I'm pretty sure the answer I'll get is mostly about how Japan raccoonishly stacks the deck against American imports.

You say Japanese don't want them. I say Japanese don't know what they want cause they have blocked from seeing all the choices they have. Japanese aren't putting in any research when it comes to buying a car. They go down to the local dealership and that's where it ends. The truth is that buying a car should take anywhere from 3 to 6 months of research before coming to a final decision. That's how you choose a good car.

Japanese buyers aren't looking at The Bluebook or doing research to find out about recalls. They walk into a dealership and if they get their butt kissed and a glass of olongcha, they're pretty much sold. One Japanese dealership even offered me orange juice and had their most beautiful OL drive me back to the station. Later I learned their vehicles had a recall.

Where are the Ford, GM dealerships? I'll tell you where their at. Remote locations, being told by local government where and when they can set up. Out of sight and out of mind. Don't try to claim that they wanted to be in a location where they might fail.

We'll know the truth all too soon I hope once the Tokyo Motor Show starts. Need a spare Press badge Hide?

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Do you know why most people in Japan buy the 1.5 litre cars? Because the annual J-goverment road tax for it is less than it would be for the 2.0L boxer. The road tax is probably the biggest thing and that is the main deterrant that makes American cars unattractive in Japan.

Maybe America should try making a few 1.5 litre cars? It seems to be what the customer wants.

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Seems like everyone is comparing Apples to Oranges. There are good and bad cars in both countries, so that's we have the power of choice. There are definitely more that 8,000 Americans in Japan. How come they are not buying American cars? If you want one bad enough you certainly can to get one in Japan. You do have an option because I seen plenty around on the road. So put your money where your mouth is. These big American vehicles here are nothing but a status symbol and not practical for everyday driving (well at least in most Tokyo Areas). I am quite sure those owners have enough money to buy or lease property big enough to store it.

I been driving for over 25 years, and I still have an American car back in the states. Would I drive it in Japan everyday? Heck NO. Driving on the main roads here is no big deal. The real problem if you live and turn down into the neighborhoods with tiny roads and alleys. My car will be too wide for my own narrow home street. Can I drive on it ? Yes it would fit, but its just not worth the hassle to do it everyday.

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Hehehehe Geezzzzzz most Japanese Car models sold in USA are manufactured and sold in USA. I have seen some American cars in Japan but Japanese prefer their own made cars. Beside USA made cars steering wheel is opposite and very difficult getting paying the ticket from the parking areas. So what's the fuzz.

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Because some American cars are bigger then Japanese firetrucks!

Kidding aside, the market isn't there. You got tons of Japanese car models to choose from, and honestly I'd rather choose a Subaru over a Ford in Japan or in America.

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American cars are so much more family friendly. I never see them much out in my part of the bush. Perhaps it is only Tokyo-ites who can grasp the language to find and import them. There is one car yard that has American cars but theyve been so tuned and vamped the price is beyond my pocket. And you know local dealers in these part of the sticks arent likey to know enough english to get one that is my range of price. Mind I wonder how much the second hand cars are not allowed on the roads? Like doesnt age of the car create a lot of unneccessary overheads-even for Japanese cars. I like the old German Volkswagon for when I become a granma, but now with kids, and not in Tokyo, a American sturdy car please! And for all those talking about size not comparable with the roads here; you just never get out of the city-Man you should see how the truckies can maneuver!

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Ask the victors in this contest why they prevail:Japanese auto execs have been saying for decades that companies like GM were basically crippled by the demands that increasingly powerful,politically connected unions made upon American auto manufacturers.

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Just got on the web to find your interesting analysis and comments. Problem appears to be lack of facts.

The numbers are NOT clearly defined as to exactly what the figures mean. They also do not declare where the figures came from and what they used as the criteria for comparison. The discussion go from international politics to personal preferences which really do not have common discussion basis. Good for getting everyone's opinions, but does not give meaningful discussion points to 1) get some true fact based dialog 2) get some reference materials with substantiated data for consideration and 3) work out a meaningful evaluation and analysis based upon specifically relative and meaningful areas of concern. Topics for consideration... examples may be: A. Get some factual data relative to import / export tariff's of both countries and what they mean for the makers from each country. B. Get some true market data as to consumer preferences. C. Get some data as to Auto Dealerships in each country and how they are set up, how effective they are, etc. D. Get some data on how effective are advertising of autos in each country. Does ads actually affect sales or do pricing or specific promotions have a heavier impact? and etc. E. Get data on repair and maintenance costs of vehicles and how they affect the buyers in each country. F. It might also be interesting to note that ALL USA and Japan manufacturers while competing with each other actually share their technology (of course for a fee). We need some data and analysis on how that affects technology and quality, etc. (Not sure if everyone is aware, but the Hybrid technology is a shared technology by all US and Japan manufacturers.) And much more.... Then the discussions would be much more meaningful for an occasional visitor to the site like myself... Thank you...
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And the point would be, what? Aside from any conspiracy theories about agreements between the two countries (remember, conspiracy doesn't have to be bad), from a rational point of view what's the ROI? Not much.

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130 comments and still counting; yet. I want to offer the last word -HONDA is the # 1 in my poersonal estimation - worldwide!

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Japan is protectionist, pure and simple. They don't play fair, at all, with trade. Japanese cars are BORING! They may be reliable as all hell, and in a practical sense this is great, but they have about as much personality as the salarymen that design them.

There is no car as exciting as say a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. If you stuck a Mustang, a Camaro and pick any Japanese car in the same price range, I bet at least 70% of a random sample in this country would pick the pony car or the Chevy.

Hell, I know which one I would rather drive. It was the same in the states. If I wanted a predictable, reliable, economic car, I would buy Japanese. But if I wanted a car I enjoyed driving it would have been American, or maybe German, but the parts would be a killer with the German car.

Well, I guess the same would apply with the US cars here. Why can't Ford or Chevrolet set up a factory over here to build them? It would be a supercar. It would have the freedom and excitement of an American car and the tight engineering of a Japanese car. It would be unbeatable.

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Two words: IMPORT TAX. This is a classic example of "fair trade" agreements. The USA taxpayers are looking at legislation to require countries to import the amount of products as they export to the USA. Also, if countries like Pakistan were required to spend half of its $8 billion in aid on American products, then the economy would be fine. Oh well, when the USA declares bankruptcy, it won't really matter how much paper a country holds.

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Speaking of foreign smaller cars, has anyone seen any Mini Coopers on Japanese roads? They seem to have their own following in the US like the VW Bug. With their sub-compact size and style I'd imagine they'd attract not a few Japanese folks.

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Lots of Mini's on japanese roads, old and new styling(BMW).

Old style seems to have a bigger following though. We also see Citroen 2CV, Fiat 500, Peugeot, Renault, and so on.

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Two words: IMPORT TAX. This is a classic example of "fair trade" agreements. The USA taxpayers are looking at legislation to require countries to import the amount of products as they export to the USA.

Ah, the promoters of free trade again... Are you aware that the US already now raise 15% import tax on cars, while in Japan it is a whopping 0%? This is most probably the reason why so many people in the US have started voicing concerns about Japan joining the TPP. They just want to keep their protectionist barriers. In order to conceal their true reasons, Detroit's spin doctors launched the campaign about alleged unfair trade practices in Japan.

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And, I just drove a Mustang in the US for a week and still haven't unkinked my back...I don't think the ride really is anything to write home about. I actually think the older Mustangs had a better ride.

You don't think the Mitsubishi 3000GT is a nice sports car?

"In technical terms this Mitsubishi was arguably more sophisticated than a Honda NSX and also more powerful, but it was much cheaper and far more aggressive to look at and drive. It certainly helped that it not only had four-wheel drive but also four-wheel steering and a whole kitchen sink load of technical innovations.

Certainly the anti squat/dive/roll independent suspension helped to keep this hugely powerful V6 on the road. Indeed 'Active Airflow Control' involved all sorts of clever aerodynamic devices that operate automatically at just 50mph. I say just because the maximum speed is a substantial but limited 155mph. It will also get to 60mph in less than six seconds. "

DH had one, it kicked butt.

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Do you know why most people in Japan buy the 1.5 litre cars? Because the annual J-goverment road tax for it is less than it would be for the 2.0L boxer. The road tax is probably the biggest thing and that is the main deterrant that makes American cars unattractive in Japan. Why don't J-goverment eliminate the road tax so that U.S. cars have better opportunity to sell?

sfjp330, the majority of industrialized countries has a progressive taxation depending on displacement and/or CO2 emissions. There are good reasons for it. Just because the US doesn't have it, everybody should adapt to the lowest level? Have I mentioned arrogance before?

This is the main obstacle on why U.S. cars sell less. American cars’ engines offer more displacement, but also require more tax to be paid. Anything over 3.0L ends up in punitive taxation,

Despite that, I can see a significant number of cars with engines beyond 3l in Japan. Few of them are US made. There must be more than tax...

and that’s not touching the sha-ken (car maintenance inspection).

What's wrong with shaken? I mean specifically for foreign cars as opposed to Japanese cars?

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And now another debacle: Suzuki / Volkswagen, Suzuki wants out of their "partnership" after just 2 years. VW bought 20% of Suzuki's shares for $2.5 billion in 2009. Suzuki says its attempts to receive technical knowledge from VW have been unsuccessful and wants to terminate the agreement. VW is the company that paid $2.5 billion... all VW got was shares... which side should be more forthcoming with knowledge. This is another example of a Japanese company acting infantile.

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Sfjp330

Why would placing a road tax on 2.0 litres or more for Japanese imports would be classified as "fair"?? That is blatant protectionist measure since U.S. Domestic cars are exempt from this, right? If you want to make it fair, make ALL vehicles, domestic or foreign subject to such road tax.

140 messages and yet no one has yet to provide this so-called non tariff measures that Japan allegedly has in place.

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Japan drives on the UK side, Japan etc..make cars for that side of the road. The USA drives on the other side, do they BOTHER TO ACTUALLY MAKE CARS FOR THE JAPANESE MARKET??? NO!!! Big, big pain in the ass to drive a car that is made for the other side of the road! Japan will not change and if the USA actually cares about selling cars here, well, time to do something about which side of your car you are putting that steering wheel, right amigos out in Dearborn, Michigan??

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If I wanted a predictable, reliable, economic car, I would buy Japanese.

Seems you've answered the question, SCAP65.

I don't think many people want their car to have a 'personality'. Who wants a car that has a hissy fit or suddenly develops the sulks and stops listening to you when you're doing 80 up the motorway? When it comes to cars, boring and predictable is good. Very good.

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The USA drives on the other side, do they BOTHER TO ACTUALLY MAKE CARS FOR THE JAPANESE MARKET??? NO!!!

Actually, that is not completely true. Some cars (Jeep, for example) are right-hand drive. The reason that American cars don't sell well in Japan is, I believe, not some conspiracy to keep them out of the market. However, not providing any right-hand drive vehicles is not the reason. Yesterday, I went to town on my BMW motorcycle and saw plenty of German cars. Also saw a Jeep and a Hummer. Saw a dozen Harleys. Wonder why American HD isn't complaining about being forced out of the market? Must be because their bikes sell well. It all comes down to proper marketing and investment in the facilities to sell and maintain the cars.

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Again I mention Honda......... However,I specifically refer to the Honda 600 car clubs in Honolulu which tour the whole of the island every weekend. - I am captivated by every thing old man Honda brought forth - he even made an airplane.

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@vernien jefferies..... there you go.... now you know why USA made cars importation is low in Japan. :-)

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@ bajhista....I know exactly why importation is low. Nobody is crying over here to get one. If someone desires to have one bad enough....it can be done. It's not illegal yet. I have 2 American cars back in the US, but I don't want to them over here in Japan......they wouldn't fit in my driveway anyway. My Japanese car suits me fine for my convenience. Thank you for your concern.

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Ah yes, most of Japan and its streets etc..are TOO SMALL for American cars, or is it that American cars are TOO BIG for the tiny streets, garages etc..here in Japan??

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It should be noted that the Japanese car tax system strongly discourages ownership of U.S. or Japanese heavy vehicles. For example, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association estimates that the owner of a subcompact car (750 kg curb weight) will pay $4,000 less in taxes relative to a heavier U.S. or Japanese passenger car (1,100 kg curb weight) over the lifetime of the vehicle and much much more tax on heavier U.S. full size V6 and V8 cars. The overall conclusion is, contrary to the myth, that the Japanese weight-based fuel economy standards failed to break the trend towards heavier U.S. vehicles. We all know that majority of the U.S. vehicles exported to Japan are considered heavy vehicles by Japan standards. This is the reason why TPP agreement is necessary between Japan and U.S.

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nigelboyNov. 21, 2011 - 09:23AM JST. 140 messages and yet no one has yet to provide this so-called non tariff measures that Japan allegedly has in place.

Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) are trade barriers that restrict imports but are not in the usual form of a tariff. Although they are called "non-tariff" barriers, have the effect of tariffs once they are enacted. Japan use of non-tariff barriers has risen sharply after the WTO rules led to a very significant reduction in tariff use. Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade include import quotas, special licenses, unreasonable standards for the quality of goods, bureaucratic delays at customs, export restrictions, limiting the activities of state trading, export subsidies, countervailing duties, technical barriers to trade, rules of origin, etc. Sometimes in this list they include macroeconomic measures affecting trade.

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There's not much difference between the U.S. made Ford Focus and the Mazda3, Axela in Japan. They both use same platform, the 2.3 engine block, transmission and many components. They are about same size. You'll be making about the same number of stops at the gas station with the Ford Focus as you will with the Mazda Mazda3 (Axela), as they get the same number of miles per tank of gas. However, Mazda sold 221,000 Axela in Japan, but Focus with similar price, hardly none in Japan. Why?

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American cars are a niche market with specialty vehicles like Cadillacs, Corvettes, and Hummers. I'd say 8,000 is not bad when you consider the people who buy these cars as unique consumers.

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Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade include import quotas, special licenses, unreasonable standards for the quality of goods, bureaucratic delays at customs, export restrictions, limiting the activities of state trading, export subsidies, countervailing duties, technical barriers to trade, rules of origin, etc.

sfjp330, a nice long generic list, which unfortunately you can more or less apply to any country. Now please explain where specifically any of these apply to car imports in Japan.

However, Mazda sold 221,000 Axela in Japan, but Focus with similar price, hardly none in Japan. Why?

I don't know the prices, but I suppose the Focus will not be sold cheaper than the Axela? If not the price, then what is the benefit of the Ford model to a customer in Japan? When you want to buy the car or when you have a problem, how long is the way to the next dealer? As a rough calculation you can divide the Axela sales by the ratio of Mazda vs Ford dealers in Japan. Then what is the brand/quality image of Mazda versus Ford? For me personally, Ford lags far behind and it's hard to believe this would be different for Japanese people. Are there design differences? Then which one fits better to the Japanese taste? And last but not least, go to the Japanese Ford website and try to find the Focus. It doesn't exist. How do you expect that Ford can sell a car that it doesn't promote at all? You really don't need any trade barriers to explain the difference in sales figures.

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There's not much difference between the U.S. made Ford Focus and the Mazda3, Axela in Japan. They both use same platform, the 2.3 engine block, transmission and many components. They are about same size. You'll be making about the same number of stops at the gas station with the Ford Focus as you will with the Mazda Mazda3 (Axela), as they get the same number of miles per tank of gas. However, Mazda sold 221,000 Axela in Japan, but Focus with similar price, hardly none in Japan. Why?

As gonemad had already stated, it's not sold in Japan.

Do me a favor and calculate the gas mileage of Chevy Aveo sold in Japan versus Toyota Corolla made in Japan for you seem to not understand how much of the difference there between Corollas made in Japan versus any so-called "fuel efficient" vehicles (whether made by U.S. or Japanese) made in U.S.

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Does anyone know whether the prices of American cars in Japan are comparable to similar size Japanese cars? If American car prices exceed Japanese car prices by a significant amount, it's pretty clear that value for money is a big issue.

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