politics

U.S. lawmaker urges steps to open up Japan's markets

33 Comments
By JIM ABRAMS

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33 Comments
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umm, have any of these people actually seen and driven on the roads in japan? the reason why US cars don't sell in japan isn't because of tariffs/taxes

4 ( +6 / -2 )

umm, have any of these people actually seen and driven on the roads in japan?

perhaps only through Google Earth and live discussions in 80's :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"A House Democratic leader on trade policy on Tuesday said the time is right to press Japan on its closed markets"

Up until now the time wasn't right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This sounds like a broken record!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about the US open its markets, they have very closed door policies on some things.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Why do German cars sell but not American cars? The answer is obvious isn't it?

2 ( +4 / -3 )

StormR, go ahead and list those things that are not opened for Japan to export.

Its like a broken record, American cars don't sell because there is zero marketing. I'm sure people will buy Buicks and Caddies in Japan if GM wish to make a push. The debate has been done to death. US doesn't care for Japan's domestic market. Honestly speaking neither does the German or any other European car companies. The volume of Euro cars being sold to Japan is pathetic compare to every other developed nations.

This congressman is just speaking to his constituents. No American car companies care for Japan market. No one is willing to spend the money to market and compete with the domestic Japanese car makers. If you would notice, a lot of the Japanese car makers are already owned by Americans. No point to dilute sales and profit margins.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The American regime urges everyone else to open markets but they keep their market closed. There should be a trade pack excluding America.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I think Japanese made cars rival that of the German auto makers in quality and certainly exceed that of those made by Aus, USA, Korea, France and China.

However if Japanese consumers wish to buy a cheaper vehicle from SKorea or China, or they wish to buy a more uniquely styled vehicle (think Jeep or Citroen) then I don't think the Jap Gov has the right to prevent them.

What exactly are the restrictions the gov uses to prevent buyers from obtaining the latest Feista, Focus, Astra, Golf, Cruise or Barina?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Japanese market is definitely very closed, and it's deliberately made that way by the government/bureaucrats! And who loses from this? The consumers! They have fewer choices and fewer interesting (foreign) things to buy at lower prices.

The Japanese market should open, but it shouldn't simply open based on conditions made by the US, just because the US says so.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Thomas >The Japanese market is definitely very closed, and it's deliberately made that way by the government/bureaucrats! And who loses from this? The consumers!

Not sure if you know the reason the US thinks the market is closed, but I'll lay it out here as simply and unpolitically as I can:

. The car market in Japan is split in two, about 53% is your regular car/SUV style and about 47% is a class called Kei Car, these are the ones you see driving around with yellow number plates. For the general category, everything is about as fair and equal as it can get. Cars coming into Japan have to pass safety approvals, but the reverse is also true of cars going to US, etc. Cars compete in this category on a fairly level playing field. For Kei cars though, there are tax incentives for cars that fit in this category. Not for Japanese Kei cars, but for ANY Kei car. To get into the tax category, the car has to be within specific dimensions (they are very small), and have an engine size under 660cc. That's it. Thats what the Americans are referring to as a barrier. Now imagine the tax incentive wasn't there, the cost of the cars would actually be higher, less people would buy them, which ultimately means that the consumer loses out. All because American manufacturers don't see themselves able to take enough % of the Kei car market to make it worthwhile developing cars to suit the market (you can imagine that they would sell like hotcakes in the US - er, not!). Further, the small engine and lightweight of these cars produces less toxic gas, which means the environment doesn't lose out either. To my ears, the status quo doesn't sound too unfair, tbvh!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He said there should also be an enforceable way to stop Japan and other countries from currency manipulation

said the largest manipulator of them all. LOL as long as quantive easing is included in this enforcement and if the US breaks the rule then it becomes void. sure Im all for it then.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

onerous vehicle certification procedures for imports and complex safety and pollution standards.

So they want Japan to lower their standards so junky american cars have a chance. LoL.

Do americans ever learn?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Finally he said Japan should agree to eliminate all existing non-tariff barriers in the auto sector, such as discriminatory taxes, onerous vehicle certification procedures for imports and complex safety and pollution standards.

You know I'm pretty sure that in most negotiations there's give and take... not just take, take, take.

U.S.A., what are you offering, because from where I'm sitting it doesn't seem to be a fair trade.

... and people say that China's diplomacy looks a lot like a 3-year old screaming, "GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!!!"... it looks like China took lessons from the U.S.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

At least not so many people argue that American cars are inferior quality anymore. Hearing those people makes it sound like they haven't driven a Ford since the 90s or earlier. My dad still owns a 03 Focus and its the most reliable car he has ever owned, period. I have a Fusion and it beat out all the Japanese manufacturers' cars ... The Camry felt like the interior was made from tracing paper, was drab, and generally depressing. The point is American car manufacturers have largely learned their lesson and could compete in the market I think if the playing field were fair, kei cars included (Ford in Europe makes tiny cars).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A fact of life in Japan. Japanese drivers favor Mercedes Benz cars, DaimlerChrysler AG, Volkswagen AG, and BMW AG.

A fact of life in America. Imported cars are never considered for membership or affiliation as a true muscle car.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is a simple solution: For every Japanese car sent to the USA, Japan must import the equivalent amount of products from the USA. It is FAIR TRADE in the best sense. Trade means to exchange one product for another product. If Japan now imports more from the USA, then the USA needs to change. With the number of Japanese cars in the USA, it seems that the USA is on the losing end.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Out of patriotism, I bought a Saturn, the first in my prefecture of Gunma. It was a fine car, though I had to get a new one sooner than I would have if I'd bought a proper Japanese car. One reason why we couldn't ever get an American car is, no dealerships where we are. The all folded.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Finally he said Japan should agree to eliminate all existing non-tariff barriers in the auto sector, such as discriminatory taxes, onerous vehicle certification procedures for imports and complex safety and pollution standards.

i.e. Make Japanese drive with steering wheel on the left side, speed limits displayed in MPH, employ EPA standards, and last, make the roads wider to custom fit U.S. made cars.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

onerous vehicle certification procedures for imports and complex safety and pollution standards.

This is exactly the US , they expect everyone to comply with their standards but dont want to comply with others standards.

They imposed tarrifs on japan car imports so japan responded by placing limits on numbers from the US, these yankie doodle dandies need to look in the mirror first before pointing the finger.

Tarrifs, currency manipulation all sounds so american doesnt it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have never heard Mercedes, BMW, Lamborghini or Aston Martin complaining about onerous certification costs in Japan. This seems to be a convenient excuse from US car manufacturers to explain their total failure in the Japanese market.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with everyone here that the Japanese have an open market and the US really needs to open up their market more.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Here again. Do American Automakers know that even Americans do not want to buy the American cars? I have seen 4 of 5 cars that are parked on a street are made in Japan: HONDA or TOYOTA. They must convince first their own people (Americans) if they want the Japanese to buy the American cars. Self-discipline first! like Gandhi. That is what America is missing as usual.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least not so many people argue that American cars are inferior quality anymore. Hearing those people makes it sound like they haven't driven a Ford since the 90s or earlier. My dad still owns a 03 Focus and its the most reliable car he has ever owned,

Isn't that a European made Ford?

If that democrat politician's argument is that there's something wrong simply due to the end result of a competitive market ie, USA auto imports to Japan are simply undesirable to most consumers there then it would be ludicrus to link USA trade protection to import/export results.

However it does also seem that the domestic regulatory structure does adversely effect foreign competitors (outside the luxury car segment). IF Japanese cars are better in general, and I believe this is the case, then they would have nothing to lose in relaxing these rules or in refraining from applying these more strictly to O/S competitors. However I am sure in some segments niche competitors could gain a foothold. ie; which Jap vehicle in terms of being fit for purpose matches the Dodge Ram ute? Or GM Statesmen?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

After US succeed in this talk, these Michigan Senators will demand following. 1/ Japan should make any right-handled cars illegal.

Japan should make all streets in Japan as wide as USA streets. 3 Japan should have national laws to enforce street laws. Private parking has to be, either inside of garage or space in front of garage only. In order to ride huge American cars, Japanese people should be ordered to have surgeries. Just amputate their legs and add dead people's legs to enlarge their legs so that they become tall like Americans,
0 ( +2 / -2 )

"I have never heard Mercedes, BMW, Lamborghini or Aston Martin complaining about onerous certification costs in Japan. "

Then you are ignorant. The Euro automakers are so peeved with Japan that they attempted to delay the FTA talks with Japan, because they complain Japan's market is too restrictive. I would recommend you check out the ACEA website.

http://www.acea.be/index.php/news/news_detail/press_release_japan_eu_free_trade_agreement_a_one-way_street_for_eu_automob

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@noriyosan: Japanese brand name cars in USA are not from Japan. Japanese automakers made factories in USA and their modernized manufacturing systems create left side handle cars in USA. Toyota in KY,and too many more. UAW dominated Detroit declared bankruptcy now. First huge USA city bankruptcy. So, Mich based politicians are crying now. They can't blame Japan export car because none.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Patrick McCormack

I have a Fusion and it beat out all the Japanese manufacturers' cars ... The Camry felt like the interior was made from tracing paper, was drab, and generally depressing.

Interesting choice, but do note that the Fusion is largely designed in the EU, and the Camry is built in the US for the US market, if you were to compare to the Camry in Japan, you might be shocked (and also annoyed that US consumers aren't offered the same choice?)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JeffLeeJul. 25, 2013 - 06:38AM JST

http://www.acea.be/index.php/news/newsdetail/pressreleasejapaneufreetradeagreementaone-waystreetforeu_automob

This page does not exist.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Patrick McCormick Jul. 24, 2013 - 10:54PM JSTI have a Fusion and it beat out all the Japanese manufacturers' cars ... The Camry felt like the interior was made from tracing paper, was drab, and generally depressing.

"Consumer Reports" is just another tool for product information and doesn't mean much. Actually, the general public decides on whether Toyota is a good or bad product. This determines the product value based on supply and demand. If you compare 3-5 years old Camry resale value to Malibu or Fusion, you can see the difference. $12-14K for Camry, $8-10K for Fusion, $7-9K for Malibu. Even with the Toyota's current problem, the resale value still about the same, or less 3 percent fluctuation. Why isn't the used Toyota going down dramatically in price? Because, still consumer knows it's a good value regardless of what the critics saids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This page does not exist.

Google ACEA Japan FTA, and it should be the 2nd on the hits list.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JeffLee

Google ACEA Japan FTA, and it should be the 2nd on the hits list.

An interesting read. They've basically got the same claim as their US counterparts: a FTA would overly benefit Japanese manufacturers, kei cars are an unfair trade barrier, and Japan needs to stop asking manufacturers to submit to Japan's testing and criteria and accept the criteria of the EU without asking for modifications.

On the first point, I'd have to see their research, but given a properly open market both ways their number of 7500 is probably the low estimate given in the report. At the same time, I'd be willing to bet that they're using the upper range of the Deloitte report for the Japanese doom and gloom forecast. Standard practice for lobbying, that.

Regardless, ACEA covers the EU, which represents 500 Million people (and increasing), while the Japanese market is less than 130 million and decreasing - it stands to reason that the number of imports to a smaller market would be significantly less.

Asking/demanding that the Japanese submit to EU criteria without modification is essentially asking Japan to submit to EU law. They can demand it, but no one in their right mind would expect a non-EU country to go along with that. To bring this back to the story at hand, that would be like Japan demanding that its cars be exempt from California Emissions standards because Japanese standards are good enough. It's a good rallying point in a nationalist kind of way, but no one really expects it.

And finally, the Kei cars. Off the top of my head, I can think of two recent European kei cars in the Japanese market - the Smart K and the entry model fiat panda (pre 2003 model with the 650cc engine). I've seen both around, although the Fiats seem to have largely disintegrated by now, as they do.

There is very little standing in the way of European manufacturers entering the Kei market again. The current Fiat Panda, VW up/Skoda Citiigo, Ford Ka, Opel/Vauxhall Adam and Renault Twingo could all qualify as Kei cars with minor body plastic modifications. Most of those manufacturers make engines small enough that -depending on the bore - could meet kei qualifications by shortening the stroke.

In other words, for a minimal investment in design and tooling, the market is wide open to all....but much like the American manufacturers, there are no takers. Why not?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@JeffLee, JT mingles the links when there are underscores in it. In order to prevent it, you have to put a backslash in front of every undercsore. Here is the corrected link:

http://www.acea.be/index.php/news/news_detail/press_release_japan_eu_free_trade_agreement_a_one-way_street_for_eu_automob

This is a good example of how the industry wants to abuse free-trade agreements in order to get rid of safety and environmental standards. Let's have a look at the first demand:

vehicles manufactured and type-approved in the EU are accepted in Japan without further testing or modification;

Every major country has it's own environmental and safety standards. Not only Japan, but the EU, the US, and Korea, everybody has his own set of standards. Of course, the differences are cumbersome for the makers and a unification welcome. But the way they are currently handled in the mentioned countries is that they are publicized years ahead of the introduction. Every maker has the same, long, time to adapt. Thus they can hardly be called a non-tariff barrier. The reason the industry insists on this argument is that they would like to see any future updates of safety and environmental standards considered a trade barrier, taking away the legislative power from governments or at least delaying any updates - practically indefinitely - until all trade partners have agreed to the same.

The argument about the Kei cars is very similar. All major industrialized countries have a system of progressive taxing based on engine displacement, fuel consumption, CO2 exhaust or a mix of them. The only exception is the US. Japan also sticks out because it starts the differentiation on a much lower displacement level than anybody else. This is the Kei car category. Again, it doesn't make sense to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator and it must be left possible for progressive governments to introduce increasingly stricter rules. But trade partners could and should agree on a common set of tax criteria (like e.g. only CO2 exhaust, which would remove the vehicle size requirements for the Kei cars) and common sets of measurement methods.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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