U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington earlier this month. Photo: REUTERS
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Trump rebukes Japan over nontariff barriers against American cars

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I wonder how many Japanese citizens are actually interested in buying an American car. I certainly am not, and I’m American

27 ( +35 / -8 )

"A variety of nontariff barriers impede access to Japan's automotive market, and overall sales of U.S.-made vehicles and automotive parts in Japan remain low"

It can't possibly be because japanese cars are better, right ?

15 ( +26 / -11 )

does trump really think these "nontariff barriers" is what prevents more american cars from being sold in japan? how about the fact that most of the designs don't match japanese tastes, or the fact that the cars/trucks are just too big for the roads here?

22 ( +29 / -7 )

I rebuke that comme forward. A judgement call but a man who pays for sex from a porn "stare" certainly lessons anything he says.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Who wants American cars? Japanese want Japanese cars (or German luxury brands), not bland, boring and LARGE American cars. Those cars would need to be modified to meet Japanese safety standards and have their steering changed to the right hand side.

12 ( +21 / -9 )

Abe has already skillfully innoculated himself from these types of attacks by setting up the economic dialogue under Vice PM Aso and VP Pence. Just let it blow over.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What do they call a Cadillac in Tokyo?

One room apartment!

16 ( +25 / -9 )

I can just see Abe looking hurt and confused as the man he thought was his best buddy scolds him like a bad dog. Probably more hurt than when Trump was more interested in Matsuyama than Abe himself.

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

Nonsense about American cars. Most Japanese simply don't want to buy them.

I don't hear many complaints from European car makers. Plenty of them on the road in Japan.

How about try making cars that people might want to buy instead of bleating.

12 ( +21 / -9 )

"hindrances" to the development of distribution and service networks

Hinderances? The US system of outlawing manufacturers from distributing and selling their own cars directly to the public is one of the biggest non-tariff trade barriers that the US puts up. To claim that Japan is putting up barriers by not implementing these same laws here is ridiculous.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Well, there are actually a lot of barriers to non-Japanese cars (where can I buy a Hyundai outside of Tokyo?), but they are mostly theoretical for the US in the absence of any appreciable demand for less reliable cars that are mostly too big.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The Japanese auto makers have been successful selling and making cars in the US for many reasons, primary among them their understanding of the American car buyer.

Can Detroit say the same thing about their knowledge of the Japanese car buyer?

12 ( +16 / -4 )

As an American I accept that we can't win every battle, and the US basically lost the auto wars with Japan. I hope Trump gets over it and focuses on the great prospects for more competitive US industries such as aircraft, information technology, smart phones, etc.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Japanese will buy Japanese made or European, like me they know US made is crap. Sorry but the truth hurts!

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Of all the things that might be trade barrier, I think the Shaken is the only one. It has little to do with actual safety and is more of a corporate welfare program for the auto industry designed to incentivise (or even punish) people to buy newer and newer cars every few years. This interference in the market in favour of cheaper disposable cars could disadvantage automakers who's primary selling point is quality and reliability (but I don't think American automakers are really in that category).

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Me... I'd love to own a new American Camaro in Japan.... but the safety and inspection standards add about $10,000 per car after import. However that said, if American's want access to Japanese markets... they have to make the cars in the factory itself to pass all those different standards and service requirements.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

So Japan should remove these non tariff barriers and then see what happens.

if still no American cars then I think their makers will finally get the message.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

According to Abe, Trump is his “favourite world leader”. I’m sure the bromance between these two peas-in-a-pod will weather this minor storm, and some small concessions will be made to keep Trump happy.

The only US vehicles people want these days are the odd niche car like TESLA.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

C’mon Trump! Isn’t there any other American crap that we could sell to the Japanese?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Reckless: "and the US basically lost the auto wars with Japan."

I would have said yes, if Abe hadn't bent over so easily for Trump. Now he is 100% dependent on the US, has promised to buy arms, and needs them thanks to Abe's "tours of isolation". He doesn't even dare to threaten the US, let alone stand against them. He will not only do what Trump says, if Trump demands he go further and limit Japan's sale of cars and put a minimum on US autos sold in Japan, Abe will do that, too. As long as Trump gives him a smile and pats him on the head.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

In the late 70's this was a huge issue as American dominance in auto manufacturing was challenged by the Japanese. I recall it clearly as more Japanese cars appeared on the streets, threatening good middle class jobs of autoworkers with a perceived work-to-death Japanese competitor, people were almost hysterical. In the end, the US auto industry is now much stronger (not in all markets but in certain categories), and has developed alliances with Japanese auto companies (GM-Toyota; Mazda-Ford, Chrysler-MMC) as well as European and Chinese. I completely agree with Trump that there are barriers to enter the Japanese market because of shaken, points of sale, culture, etc. but time and again the US automakers have refused to make a real investment here with dealerships and come and then retreated as they ultimately realize the shrinking market is simply too small to justify the investment. However, they are willing to make massive sacrifices to enter the Chinese market with strategic alliances, technology transfer and move to electric cars. I would basically conclude that it is just not worth it to US car companies to try to be competitive in Japan. Even for successful European automakers I am sure their profits from Japan are just frosting on the cake.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I can see the ads now: Buy your cheap American made car!! They are dangerous and poluting, but cheap!!!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

PS If you search on Google maps, you can find US car dealers. Are they not actually selling US cars?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

PS: Last year more than 300,000 foreign made cars were sold in Japan. Nearly all European (Frence and German made). What's wrong with the US cars? The Europeans seem to be doing quite nicely.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I am american and never owned an american,guess i am not a real american huh!

Japanese cars are much better in terms of design and efficient in opinion.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

streets are narrow, why would you want a US car? European cars make sense since they have similar streets and an interesting style. Japanese cars are really comfortable as well. Trump is just crying again. Let him cry

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Agree with reckless and others, Trump's fighting a losing battle. Plus who would buy their massive 4wd or utes anyway?! Different market.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

America has a big tariff on its own car sales and that is the steering wheel issue.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

If you want to make money off the US market you have to listen to what we want.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

On the drive to work, it is just possible for 2 k-cars to drive in the opposite direction. In japan, car parts are cheap

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Just been walking down the Kamakura Road, the other side of Yokohama. On a 3 kilometre section of road, virtually all Japanese and European makers have showrooms, dealerships and service workshops, including Maserati and Jaguar, plus good storage facilities. However there is just one dealer from the USA, Jeep, who seem to be doing well in the area. No other US motor manufacturer has any representation, except for Harley Davidson, selling their big bikes. I often see a Hummer H3, a Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade and a GM Suburban in the neighbourhood, but they were all purchased in Tokyo. So there is some demand, but few places to buy them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And Abe's diplomacy wants US come back to TPP !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

American cars offer nothing that I'd be interested in. Steering Wheels on the wrong side, oversized and expensive. They may be reliable now but they messed the bed so many times consumers are afraid of getting a lemon. Now if they could make a small sized pick up with right hand drive, I'd be in. Japanese makers have abandoned the market. Ford Courier from Aussie maybe.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A major problem when buying a foreign made car is getting them fixed when they break down. Previously, I would tear an engine apart and repair them with a hammer and spanner. But today cars are very complex with onboard computers so now in addition to a hammer and spanner I would need a brain too, and failing that, a deep pocket.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Arguements about the quality of U.S cars aside and the realization that when we talk about the automotive industry we might not be talking about complete cars, but components and alike, I thought this passage was interesting.

"A variety of nontariff barriers impede access to Japan's automotive market, and overall sales of U.S.-made vehicles and automotive parts in Japan remain low," said the Economic Report of the President.

Japan, however, imposes no tariffs on imported cars.

So are you refuting Trumps point or not? Or do you recognize non-tariff barriers exist? Nice slight of hand there btw, but nobody is fooled.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

American producers face "higher barriers" to selling their products abroad than competitors do selling products in the United States, the report said.

Pretty sure you could be creative if you wanted to be. How much do you want to support the industry and are you prepared for the blowback? Its all about priorities.

Its like the steel and aluminium tariffs. Some things are just necessary to support core elements of a countries manufacturing industry and even defense. Since both products are so widely used you would have to be seriously dumb to run your industry into the ground.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As always, Trump only thinks about fighting the economic battles that America lost 50 years ago. He has no clue how to actually win the economic battles that are coming up in the future. Ever the backwards thinker, he wants to waste his time on dying industries instead of nurturing the next generation.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

As always, Trump only thinks about fighting the economic battles that America lost 50 years ago. He has no clue how to actually win the economic battles that are coming up in the future. Ever the backwards thinker, he wants to waste his time on dying industries instead of nurturing the next generation.

Steel, aluminium, cars. You think are dying industries? I get your point that the U.S seems focused on old industries instead of say, renewables, A.I etc, which is a massive oversight. They need to do both. And they need partners to do both. However, the U.S cannot afford to lose any of those base industries that contribute to so many others.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Trump is absurd. There has been a steady increase in American cars in Japan recently. I've lived here a while and I see more and more American cars around here. Especially Jeeps. By the way, the Toyota Camry has more American made parts than any of the GM, Ford or Chrysler cars.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

When I hear all the comments about why American cars do not seem to sell well in Japan (comments mostly from the army of self appointed spokespeople for Japan of who seem to be mostly foriegners residing in Japan) I get the impression that they are reading from a script. This script must be about 40 years old now.

Japanese roads are smaller, Japanese cars are better quality, Japanese drive on the other side of the road etc. etc non of these teasons are actually true in a lot of cases.

The USA can produce small, high quality, right hand drive cars.

Maybe America should advertise more in Japan, and let the ordinary Japanese person decide. I'm sure that many Japanese people would consider an American car if the invisible barriers of access Japan was removed.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Ford just quit the Japanese market. Soon there won't be any American dealerships here anyway. I have seen a few Jeeps. I've never in my life seen an advertisement for an American car here in Japan. Volkswagon started advertising about 3 years ago, and guess what, there are Volkswagons on the streets now!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fully a third of the Japanese auto market are "kei-cars," a unique Japanese techical standard drawn up by Japanese politicians.

Japan protects its auto market like there's no tomorrow. Time for America to start protecting its own market.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The USA can produce small, high quality, right hand drive cars.

Then just like the Japanese did in Britain and America, they built their factors there and gave work to the Brits and Americans. Come to Japan and American car factories with models suitable for the domestic market.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What is a nontarriff barrier?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ex, I think you got it right, and a few others here. Person wanting to buy a Camaro, etc. There are quite a few American cars I think Japanese people would buy if not for some of these barriers. Might not be a huge market, but it's indicative of Japan's barriers to a lot of foreign products. To me, this seems like a sign of how we need to work together on more trade issues. 地理も積もれば、山となる。。。

2 ( +2 / -0 )

塵。I wish we could edit posts here...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trump has criticized Japan's trade practices. "We want fair and open trade. But right now, our trade with Japan is not fair and it's not open," he said during a visit to Tokyo last November.

There seems to be misunderstanding by many. Trump is not talking about consumer choice. He is talking about the removal if long standing trade barriers that Japan has in place- many are hidden. Dismantle the trade barriers and then it is simply consumers choice.

Japan has many hidden trade barriers such as most food colors and preservatives used in America are not allowed to be imported into Japan, regardless of the fact millions of Japanese have visited America and have not died by consuming American products. Again, and again, the only thing the U. S. is asking for is truly free trade without cunning trade barriers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

UHM, American cars have their steering wheel on the wrong side :P

4 ( +6 / -2 )

StrangerlandToday  09:17 pm JST

What is a nontarriff barrier?

A more formal way of saying, "WAAAAAH!!!! Why won't those mean Japanese people buy our cars?! It's so unfair they won't give me their money just because I want it! WAAAAAAH!!!!!"

Matt HartwellToday  08:35 pm JST

As always, Trump only thinks about fighting the economic battles that America lost 50 years ago. He has no clue how to actually win the economic battles that are coming up in the future. Ever the backwards thinker, he wants to waste his time on dying industries instead of nurturing the next generation.

Steel, aluminium, cars. You think are dying industries? 

The American automobile industry is for the most part already dead. Steel and aluminum are irrelevant to this discussion because Trump isn't pestering people to buy American steel and aluminum against their will. But as for cars, yes, cars as Americans have designed them for decades are dead. Big, expensive, heavy, gas-wasting, unreliable junk that is purchased more as a suburban status symbol than for quality in a world that is increasingly urban, with people living in tight confines and not having a lot of income that can be spent on a status symbol that sits on the curb, where gas is increasingly expensive.

For American cars to compete in other countries, they need to innovate. Trump would be better off pushing American manufacturers to design for the 21st century than pushing Japan to buy American products rooted in the 20th.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

C’mon Trump! Isn’t there any other American crap that we could sell to the Japanese?

Funny, but most of the import crap that is sold in Japan is from Europe. There are very little import goods from America sold here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A more formal way of saying, "WAAAAAH!!!! Why won't those mean Japanese people buy our cars?! It's so unfair they won't give me their money just because I want it! WAAAAAAH!!!!!"

That's what I'm suspecting, but I'm wondering if this actually is a thing. It would seem to me that governments are only responsible for tariffs as a barrier to business, however maybe there are some other barriers that I don't know about.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah, just buy an imported Mini Cooper in Japan that was designed for the American market.....Funny how things work out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is something going on in Japan that causes a European car to cost over $10,000 more in Japan than it does in the US. If it isn't tariffs, it's something else with the same effect. And, it worked, as it forced me to choose a Japanese model over a similar class German one in Japan, whereas in the US, I choose the German ones as they are roughly the same price as their JP counterparts, and actually less expensive in the pre-owned market.

As for all the negativity here towards US cars, long gone are the days of the poorly-made American land boat, starting to rust in the showroom. The current quality is on par with EU and JP brands.

As for the market, the Japanese obviously love SUV's, as they are quite common. The US is the leader in that segment. There are also some well-made and globally popular small models like the Ford Focus. And, the EV Chevy Bolt is arguably superior to the Nissan Leaf. (Longer range, better handling and acceleration, etc.)

And, I guarantee that if Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers were available in RHD for similar pricing as they are in the US, you'd see plenty of them in Japan, even if they won't fit in many public parking spaces. Hey, I see even them now, even with the steering wheel on the wrong side, albeit in low numbers. (There's a big "exotic" and muscle car dealer near my JP home.)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Volkswagon started advertising about 3 years ago, and guess what, there are Volkswagons on the streets now!

Unfortunately, their pricing is ridiculous in Japan. For what a VW cost in Japan, you could buy the equivalent Audi in the US.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The kei car rules ring fence about 40% of the Japanese car market. They have to be made specially for Japan to Japanese rules.

However, the losers are the manufacturers of what would be competitive small cars. The ones that come to my mind are Fiat and Renault, but there are others. Of the US manufacturers, Ford and GM make small cars that are competitive in the UK, another right hand drive market, but I think Fiats would appeal to Japanese more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

American car companies aren't really interested in selling cars in the Japanese market. If they were, they would start by moving the steering wheel over to the right hand side of the car. Again, this is Trump blowing smoke and trying to appease the segment of the American public that believes everything that come out of his mouth.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Actually create and sell the concept cars and buyers will flock to something new. Delorean doors, 3-wheeler futuristic, etc perhaps. All the concept cars are just ignored and the car company releases the same version of its car but with an extra groove on the side...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He has no idea about the local situation of the automotive industry. Within Tokyo, there are tons of foreign cars. They are primarily European, led by German cars such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi. However, French and Italian players have their presence here as well. Outside of Tokyo or major cities you don't have many foreign cars, but that is normal for any country that has their own automotive industry.

They invested in the market, developed their own dealers or partnered with local partners (eg Yanase) to become successful. The German companies alone sell over 150,000 cars per year in Japan.

It is purely because of their lack of appeal for the local market that US car manufacturers were unable to properly penetrate the Japanese market.

Let's look at pricing. Someone compared US prices of German cars vs prices in Japan. Have a look of prices of German cars in Germany. They are more expensive than in the US.

The US has the cheapest car market in the developed world as it is highly competitive and price conscious.

Have a look at the Candillac US site vs Japan site. An Escalade is about $50K in the US. Here they position themselves in the luxury segment and prices start at 11.6MJPY, which is over double the price.

Who in their right mind would chose an Escalade over a Lexus LX, Mercedes GLS, BMW X5, Audi Q7 or Porsche Cayenne, if all prices are nearly equal?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sorry slight correction - apparently the latest Escalades start at $75K now. Which makes the entry model in Japan still 3.6MJPY more expensive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Strangerland

What is a nontarriff barrier?

Any law or regulation that restricts full market access of foreign goods for no legitimate reason. To give just one classic case I'm familiar with, in Belgium domestic manufacturers used to sell margarine only in cubed packages. They managed to lobby the government to pass a law making this cube the only legal technical standard. They knew that no other margarine manufacturer in Europe would re-tool their entire production lines just to produce cubes for the tiny Belgian market. It was effectively creating a domestic oligopoly for no legitimate reason and so it was illegal.

@JeffLee

Fully a third of the Japanese auto market are "kei-cars," a unique Japanese techical standard drawn up by Japanese politicians.

I disagree that the Kei car standards are a non-tariff barrier. It's a reasonable standard for Japan. Even if we assume it is an odd technical standard, what is the solution? Reduce consumer choice by banning an entire category of goods that consumers seem to like?

It would be very different if Japan started banning cars which were not Kei cars, but American manufacturers are free to produce and market whatever cars they want, including their own Kei cars. Kei cars are like Belgian cubed margarine, but in this case American rectangular margarine isn't banned. That's the difference in my view.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The tariffs on foreign cars hurt the Japanese consumer more than it hurts American car manufacturers. The tariffs is a tax on Japanese people, and as a result of it, Japanese people have fewer choices and on a much higher price. The tariffs on foreign competition is a result of Japanese car manufacturers bribing and lobbying Japanese bureaucrats to impose the high tariffs to protect themselves, in exchange when the bureaucrats retire, they get hired in those corporations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese tariff on imported cars is zero. The US tariff runs from 5% up to 50%.

Tens of thousands of cars can be imported by a company before Japanese safety inspections are required. Zero cars can be imported into the US without millions of dollars of safety inspections.

Japan exports more cars from US factories built by Japanese companies (employing over 1.5 million Americans) than are imported from Japan. US carmakers have invested nothing in the Japan market.

US car companies rely on bullying, twisted logic and paid politicians instead of competition. Japanese car companies rely on making the highest quality products year after year.
3 ( +6 / -3 )

One thing about this Trump guy, better watch your back you can never trust him as a 'friend.'

Barriers or not, American cars will never rid that stigma of being of inferior quality to cars from Europe, Japan, etc. The American auto industry had plenty of opportunities to make quality cars back in the 80's and 90's.

Too little too late

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why would anyone buy inferior product? I mean, have you driven a Ford lately?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

GyGene

I think that one fundermental problem here is, that for years now America has regarded Japan as a partner. Japan has regarded America as a competitor.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

American cars imported to Japan on top of being taxed 100% of the purchase price must undergo a rigorous vehicle safety inspection. In addition there is presently no dealerships located in Japan thereby making replacement parts another expense should the need arise, even European cars are expensive to import to Japan for all the same reasons as American autos. There is a market however, there are a whole lot of restraints not incurred with Japanese auto sale I’m the United States because Japanese auto plants are permitted in the U.S., thereby reducing ownership costs. This tends to dip the scales in favor of Japan’s Auto industry.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The kei car rules ring fence about 40% of the Japanese car market. They have to be made specially for Japan to Japanese rules.

One could just as easily argue that America ring fences 99% of its compact car market by banning most Kei cars because they don't meet American safety standards.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Strangerland

So does anyone know what the non-tariff barriers Japan has put into place to keep American cars out are?

I'm not familiar with all the arguments going around but here are the ones I've read about over the years (I basically disagree with all of them but I'll try to strongman them) :

Kei cars are given preferential tax treatment which has distorted the market by incentivising the purchase of cars built to a unique standard that no other country produces. They are extremely unsafe in crash tests and shouldn't be on the road anywhere. Since no other countries allows these deathtraps on the road, the Kei car operates almost like an unfair subsidy to Japanese automakers and even permanently distorts the market as parking spaces and garages are built exclusively to fit the Kei size limits.

The fact that the law here allows car dealers to own and operate their own dealers is unfair. By not having independent dealers, a manufacturer has to invest huge amounts of money to build their own network in Japan rather than just signing contracts with existing independent dealers. People are less likely to buy cars not backed by a strong dealer network.

The shaken system makes people worry about whether their foreign cars will pass these arbitrary tests so they opt for domestic manufacturers. Kei Cars are given preferential treatment for the shaken.
3 ( +3 / -0 )

Trump should realize that Japan's a shrinking car market - that's the reason US manufacturers are done investing more resources into it

"Toyota seeking to halve Japan car models as domestic market shrinks"

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-toyota-strategy/toyota-seeking-to-halve-japan-car-models-as-domestic-market-shrinks-idUSKBN1CH025

"Honda to cut Japanese production by a quarter as domestic sales stagnate"

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/transport/honda-to-cut-japanese-production-by-a-quarter-as-domestic-sales-stagnate

Even with all the European cars' successes, the foreign car market in Japan is still only 9% (and that took 20 years just to rise from 6%) - again, that's 9% of an already shrinking market

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Consumers/Japan-s-car-imports-top-300-000-for-first-time-in-two-decades

Trump should just let this go (but he has a problem with just letting things go)

Why would anyone buy inferior product? I mean, have you driven a Ford lately?

Ford is actually the 3rd best-selling car brand (behind only VW and Renault) in 2017 Europe, where streets are also small like Japan's and Ford sells small cars

https://www.best-selling-cars.com/europe/2017-full-year-europe-best-selling-car-manufacturers-and-brands/

(Unless ya think Europeans are stupid)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no tax on foreign cars in Japan.

Stop these false claims.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why would anyone in Japan WANT to buy an American car?? I'm an American and I never buy American cars. They are horrible. I have always owned Japanese cars because they are reasonably priced for what you get. They are reliable and are driver-centric. American cars are big beasts with everything looking tacked on. Japanese cars last for decades, American cars last for a few years. Not only that, but most Japanese car makers are now making cars in America that are more American by content that supposed American cars. I've ben telling people for years, buy American, that means a Japanese car!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What Trump wants to see is an increase in export of US manufactured cars to Japan.

The brand doesn't matter. It can be Honda and Toyota as long as it's manufactured in the US.

So this problem can be solved by allocating a shipback quota on each Japanese manufacturer operating in Japan.

Toyota : 200K units

Honda : 150K units

Nissan : 150K units

=======================

A total of 500K American made cars exported to Japan and Trump is happy. Japanese consumers can't tell if the Toyota they are looking at is an "American car".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yeah yeah yeah, I hate America I hate Trump I'm an angry impoverished liberal expat stuck in Japan- I get it.

But after the US auto industry almost fell in the mud about 10 years ago, they really got their act together and are once again making excellent automobiles. We aren't talking about the little roller skates GM manufactures for the Australian market, but good, solid, quality cars with good gas mileage.

The barriers to entry are akin to the block on French alpine skis in the '80s because "Japanese snow is unique and different than European snow".

0 ( +4 / -4 )

> A_crossToday  01:31 am JST

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-38894819/why-don-t-japanese-drivers-buy-us-cars

Oh give me a break. They chose the biggest Cadillac they could find to do a story that fit their narrative.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Nontariff barriers" aka they don't want to buy American cars. It's called the free market.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

US should impose the same non-tariff barriers on Japanese and Korean imports as well, problem solved.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CaptDingleheimerToday  01:40 am JST

A_crossToday  01:31 am JST*

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-38894819/why-don-t-japanese-drivers-buy-us-cars

Oh give me a break. They chose the biggest Cadillac they could find to do a story that fit their narrative.

Break: There are not too many American cars on Tokyo streets to choose from, and the Cadillac Escalade is actually one of the more common American vehicles you can see here. People who buy these cars do so because they are BIG.

The BBC's narrative was the fact that, when Japanese buyers buy foreign cars, they choose mostly German cars. They noted mostly Mercedes, but there are also similar numbers of Audi and BMW cars on the streets. Minis are fairly common too, and Range Rovers.

The idea that tariffs or any kind of politics is holding back sales of American cars in Japan is simply nonsense. As the lady said, the American-made car is simply poor-quality compared to imports from Germany or elsewhere.

Make better cars and Japanese customers would buy them, as they do with so many other American products.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A_cross

Make better cars and Japanese customers would buy them

It's not that simple.

Japanese income is on a decline for the past 25 years, so is the Japanese auto market because low-income young people aren't buying cars at all.

Since 40% of Japan's auto sales are Kei cars, only remaining 60% are "regular" cars.

Trump wants to see at least 10% of Japanese auto sales go to American made cars, this means 17% of regular cars sold have to be made in the US.

It is impossible to reach 17% of Japanese market with GM, Ford, Chrysler brand models, so Toyota, Honda, and Nissan brand models made in the US will have the shoulder on the most of burden to hit that 17% market share goal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Correct me if I am wrong, but there already is an import tariff to the US for foreign car companies who do not have a manufacturing plant in the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan protects its auto market like there's no tomorrow. Time for America to start protecting its own market. America does plenty of that already, when it comes to billions in tax breaks for Auto companies to set up in various US states, $100s billions in taxpayer bailouts, no country comes close to America in subsidizing its auto industry. take away the subsidies then well talk about free trade.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My suggestion to Japan's policy makers is to move Toyota Prius, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa production to the US and ship them back to Japan to create the illusion of 500K US made cars shipped to Japan each year.

These are the only regular cars sold in the US that are also volume sellers in Japan and can hit that 500K import target.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

US should impose the same non-tariff barriers on Japanese and Korean imports as well, problem solved.

70% of Japanese cars sold in America , made in America, employing over a 1.5 million Americans . why should Japanese buy a Japanese car made in the US and not supporting its own workforce!?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is not difficult to import an American spec car into Japan. It is next to impossible to import a Japanese spec car into the USA. The "safety" specifications keep them out of the USA. How many Japan only models have you seen in the USA? While I have seen lots of American spec cars imported into Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@wtfjapan

why should Japanese buy a Japanese car made in the US and not supporting its own workforce!?

Because Japanese auto employment in Japan(Engineers, parts suppliers) would decrease if Trump put sanctions on Japanese auto companies on the claims of a trade barrier.

Importing back Toyotas and Hondas made in the US is the least painful way for Japan to resolve auto trade dispute with Trump, because Toyotas and Hondas made in the US still contain at least 50% Japanese content and provide jobs for Japan's parts suppliers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese automakers. make cars in Japan to drive in Japan. Their branches in USA make cars for USA roads. Trump wants made in USA toyota to be export to Japan. He praised Toyota as American industry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Made in USA. Toyota and others use metric and English. Can't use in Japan where people use Japaese and don't buy oillll in gallons.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This dispute occurred because measuring system differed. Left side handle and right side handle. By the way, Interior part makers do not import. From Japan. Cheaper buying steels and rubbers in USA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ford is actually the 3rd best-selling car brand (behind only VW and Renault) in 2017 Europe

It's an interesting point. In the UK, Ford is the top-selling brand, with all cars right-hand drive. But almost none of these cars are manufactured in the USA. I think if Ford were to try to enter the Japanese market, they would likely import all the cars from Europe rather than the US. To the company, it would surely make more sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

American cars aren't very popular in Europe too. Of course it's easier to blame others for you problems.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let's see...America has lower standards for its cars and makes crappier products so Japan must lower its standards as well. Is this the best argument which Corporate can come up with to explain the general lack of desire for American machinery in a country whose products define in the world excellent machinery? American cars are not popular in Japan nor, as stated here in comments, in Europe either but both Japanese and European cars are popular in the U.S.. Hmmm. If we were voting, it would be 3:0. And what's most popular in American produced cars? Pickup trucks. And who buys pickup trucks? Middle aged trumpers who drive them aimlessly around with big engines at low speeds blocking traffic and listening to rabid talk radio, hating in orgasms anything not them, and seeing trump as the living embodiment of everything they are and want to be on the inside because, without a cheerleader and model like trump to obfuscate their own self-loathing, they would have to face their barren lives trying to avoid any knowledge of how truly useless and empty they really are. And, of course, some of this knowledge is how inferior their vehicle is compared to the one they really wanted to buy but couldn't afford due to the U.S. charging import tariffs of 25% on pickup trucks and 2.5% of total value on other models. And still imports are highly popular in the U.S. while in Japan with zero such tariffs American imports have few takers. That is, many Americans will pay a premium to not have to buy an American car. Free market, eh? Only if you're a lying bully saying "Buy our junk, or else!" Have we Americans no shame? No, we don't! Never did.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@M3M3M3

I disagree that the Kei car standards are a non-tariff barrier.  

The European Business Council would disagree with you. They've spent years lobbying to end this unique Japanese "standard" (actually a restriction), calling it a market barrier.

"It's a reasonable standard for Japan."

The Japanese govt gives a range of financial priviledges to the owners of these unique Japanese cars. And we're talking one-third the market. There is nothing "reasonable" about that in the world's 3rd biggest economy in the 21st century.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@toshiko

American brand cars sold in Canada, Mexico, and Korea use metric in gauges.

Of course all the units of American brand cars sold in Japan would use metric.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually, the US tariff is 50% on pickup trucks and 4.5% on cars.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Classic American cars are certainly sought after in Japan, even ones that aren't that old. Case in point, the Jeep Wagoneer (discontinued in 1991).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

U.S. Cars have come a very long way since the 70's and 80's. Many of them are on par with S. Korea and Japan and are getting better every year. Do you want to know why...? Because American's are actually very good engineers... they're not that great in the factory but they can design great parts and put together, on paper, great vehicles. Making the car has been another story until recently. So why, going forward, will U.S. manufacturers catch up. Yes, automation, take away sloppy American factory workers and put in robots controlled by software, which Americans are quite good at, and guess what, U.S. cars will be every bit as good as any other care in the world an its respective category. They've already caught up and will continue to do so. Things change... Just look at the electronics industry.... Japan led the world up until the turn of the century,

0 ( +2 / -2 )

albaleoToday  04:35 am JST

Ford is actually the 3rd best-selling car brand (behind only VW and Renault) in 2017 Europe

"if Ford were to try to enter the Japanese market ........ "

Ford actually LEFT the Japanese market, officially about two years ago:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/26/business/corporate-business/despite-tpp-ford-exit-closed-japan-indonesia/#.Wo9qvmaB2G4

In fact, Ford was here to sell the high-end cars of its Premier Automotive Group, which had split up by 2010. Since then, formerly Ford-owned PAG carmakers Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo have done very well in the Japanese market. Chrysler's American-made Jeeps sell well here too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Toyotas and Hondas made in the US still contain at least 50% Japanese content and provide jobs for Japan's parts suppliers. ok then America should allow Amercian cars built in China to be imported into the US, Chinese jobs will build them and they can use American made parts also, do you really think American auto workers would accept this scenario.. trade is a two way street , not one way. Japan already imports Japanese made vehicles Toyota/ Honda from Thailand and its cheaper than producing them in the US. See America isnt the only country that can make Japanese cars.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not sure that the criticism of China is accurate. I drive a Buick. I read that in 2016 about 1/4 million Buicks were sold in the USA, and almost a million Buicks were sold in China. That is four times as many Buicks sold in China as were sold in the US. Not sure how that adds up to a trade barrier.

As for Trump and Japan, the solution is simple. The Japanese need to feed his child-like ego, and then offer him a back door bribe, like the Russians did. Problem solved, at least for Japan. For the US, problems keep getting worse every day of this presidency.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is loaded with unseen hidden trade barriers in every walk of life, at the same time targeting other countries with unfair trade practices such as discounts and under the table commissions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Greetings,

Read many comments here thoroughly. Now, I am not going to talk about the trade aspect of this very much. But for those who think the Japanese do not want to purchase American cars? Hogwash! As far as American cars being poorly manufactured? Hogwash again. If you are ready to discount my 35 years in the car business in Japan/U.S bases in Japan and the U.S and call your self an expert in the auto industry here in this country. Be my guest and go right ahead. However, if you have look on Car sensor, Goo net, Car View, You will see this country is loaded with new and used American cars. Those American cars are marked up 66% to 105%. For example. Let us look at my daily driver. 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT. The price of this car used in the U.S. will range from USD$ 18,000.00 to $27,000.00. Now do yourself a favor and look at the the listings for the same car in Japan. I am looking at one right now as I type. In yen ⁻7.850.000. The profit on American cars in Japan is astronomical and at my dealership we love to sell them. I am in the car business so I was able to get my SRT Challenger at a reasonable price by way of Long Beach C.A. at auction. But let us look at the facts. The only American car manufacture doing well in Japan right now is Jeep. GM Japan? Almost dead. Ford Japan packed up and gone long ago! And that brings up an interesting point. What is the number 2 best selling car in Europe right now? Anyone know? The Ford Focus. That is right the Focus beats any Japanese car in its class on the globe! Thank you Ford. The eco- boost engine is a great engine and the Focus is a fantastic car. S-SE-Titanium-ST and if your lucky to be in the States or Europe,UAE the Ford Focus RS is an untamed beast rally car with built in drift mode. The twin turbo Fusion another! You may think POTUS Trump is a buffoon. So be it. But he has a point about Japan. How many Japanese automakers and part manufactures have set up massive factories in the U.S.? Well, to many to count. How many American factories do you see in the country side in Japan? Zip,zero nada! Japanese like French cars. Italian cars. German cars. Holden from Australia is coming on. Swiss cars. Volvo. The only cars they do not want and despise is the Korean cars. The fact is. If a Japanese man or woman depending their status can afford an import car and avoid buying a Prius or a wagon R. They want to stand out. They want to be looked at. They want to be revered. Here is another way to look at this. So you own a Nissan Gloria. Many one the road. A fine car. You want to stand out a bit. Create some identity. There are currently 5720 tuning and boutique shops in Japan. From shops like Possible to Liberty walk to Top secret. Fast and Furious 1 Car provider. L.B. dressed my SRT. It looks amazing and preforms well. I welcome any feed back. We need American cars here in Japan. Trust in this. There is a market here. And if we had more American dealerships we would see better and normalized pricing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

SlickdrifterToday 01:45 pm JST

Thank you Slickdrifter, At last we have someone that knows what they are talking about instead of hogwash from others making wild statements, having no idea of the real facts.

For some Japanese, driving a car with left steering is a status symbol of owning an expensive American car.

For years I have owned and driven American Corvettes and Cadillac's, also Japanese cars, left steering, right steering, it does not matter to me at all. Those that are throwing out hog wash about left steering, probably have never driven an American car in Japan.

Thanks again Slickdrifter for dispelling false hogwash from those not in the real world as to what truly free trade is all about. For the education, I owe you a steak and lobster dinner at the world famous SAM's by-the-sea.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'd love to own a new Ford F-150 in Japan...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'd love to get any kind of pick up Japan for a reasonable price but not one of those little farmer pickups. Actually, I've never checked because I won't buy new cars, but there no large amount of used ones for sale. Cracks me up when I see those work vans packed to the top front to back.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Swiss cars"

What Swiss cars?
0 ( +0 / -0 )

SlickdrifterToday  01:45 pm JST

Greetings,

Read many comments here thoroughly. Now, I am not going to talk about the trade aspect of this very much. But for those who think the Japanese do not want to purchase American cars? Hogwash! As far as American cars being poorly manufactured? Hogwash again. If you are ready to discount my 35 years in the car business in Japan/U.S bases in Japan and the U.S and call your self an expert in the auto industry here in this country.......

NO!!!! Stop trying to make sense with facts! I hate America and I hate Trump and Japanese people don't want American cars because they're pieces of crap!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

StrangerlandFeb. 22  09:17 pm JST

What is a nontarriff barrier?

An example would be licensing powers in the hands of industry associations with limited membership, strong market influence, and the ability to control information and operate without oversight.

No tariffs on American cars? Great.

No licence to operate a dealership anywhere within 50 km of a population center where there is an actual market, because of obscure, arbitrary excuses? Not so great.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trump is mystified that the top selling vehicle in USA , the Ford F-150, is not Ichiban in Japan

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Ramzel Volvo is a Swiss car manufacturer. They do fairly well in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ the Capt.

Do not know if you are being sarcastic or just trying to be humorous.

Japanese people don't want American cars because they're pieces of crap!!!

Explain to me then why I personally sold 35 American vehicles with rolling DRA at 96% in the last three quarters with out trying? As I provide my clients with Rolls Royce bespoke, Ferrari and Maserati which are my brands of designation daily?

As far as hating President Trump. If you are an American citizen. Then vote in the next election. Capt. try not get political to much here. But I have to admit President Trump is good for business in my industry.

American cars are not crap. TVR now that is crap Oh my serious doo doo. Half of kill write-ups written on this car that car and news, consumer reports are biased and bought. They all play the game.

Look Capt, I do not care what brand you like buy or drive. Take care of your vehicle. It will last. With today's engine designs. The engineering and plastics/rubbers/carbon and metals and alloys as well electronics on new modern vehicles. The quality is at it's highest peak I have ever seen. Follow the manufactures maintenance plan. The car will last. The days are gone for cars to be engineered to fail. Since the American car manufacturing was bailed out and along came a Tesla.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The TESLA is a threat to the Hybrids of Japanese auto;s

And REAL pickups come from the USA

Even Toyota (Tundra......) and Honda make their pickups in the USA

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Ex_Res

I think that one fundermental problem here is, that for years now America has regarded Japan as a partner. Japan has regarded America as a competitor.

The US of A does not see any country as a partner of friend but as an ally at most.

Let's keep it that way :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ CaptDingleheimer

But after the US auto industry almost fell in the mud about 10 years ago, they really got their act together and are once again making excellent automobiles

Thanks to European car engineering performed by engineers of the European Ford and GM plants were they create the 'little rollerskates' you mentioned.

As Americans love 'chase scenes' in their Hollywood productions notice the driving abilities of the 'excellent again' {?} US build cars :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Canada use metric? Does Canada has own automakers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Slickdrifter "Feb. 24  06:51 pm JST

"@Ramzel Volvo is a Swiss car manufacturer. They do fairly well in Japan."

Correct: "Volvo do fairly well in Japan." Incorrect: "Volvo is a Swiss manufacturer."

Volvo Group is a truck manufacturer based in Sweden. Volvo Cars is a Chinese-owned car manufacturer, also based in Sweden. Volvo Cars was bought by Ford in 1999 and sold to its new owners in 2010. They still share the same logo.

Volvo Cars is the highest ranked non-Japanese and non-German Vehicle Manufacturer in Japan in 2017, at #18 in JADA's list by number of vehicles sold. Jeep is the only American manufacturer in the list at #20.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Trump wants left side handled made in USA Toyota export to Japan after Toyota and Mazda created big factories in Alabama by saying Toyota is American industry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Michigan made cars in USA are selling well. In USA, about all families own more than two cars Streets are wider than Japan. High school students get driving lessons in hs and get licenses.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would love to see North America try and produce a RHD car with a 660cc engine that can scoot along at 80 KPH with four people in it (this is the most common car in Japan)?! Everything we have here in Canada has huge engines by comparison to do the same job. I have seen city transit buses in Japan that have the same size engine as my wife's mini van. Diesel vs. gas...but still! There again we call a Caravan a "mini" van...there is absolutely nothing MINI about it. The mere narrative of our auto industry says we don't understand the Japanese market. Look the the modern "Mini" Cooper....its huge compared to the original BL Mini. Japan has full fleged mini vans with dual sliding doors that are the same size as the new cooper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abe Shinzo is about to discover the Donald Trump who has believed fervently for decades that Japan is a free rider on security which has used all the resources it has saved to export lots of goods to the U.S., thereby stealing jobs from Americans. This ignorant fool is the true face of Trump. And the obsequious stance by Abe is very limited in its ability to manage such an ignoramus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regarding the comment on the Ford Focus, I would say that the Focus made in Europe may be a very good car, but I bought one made in North America, and had lots and lots of problems with it. Have since gone on to a Buick, and over 6 years the only thing I have had to go to the dealer for were a battery, oil changes, and tires. My point is that a car made in Ford Europe is not the same car made by North America Ford.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

> SlickdrifterFeb. 24  07:17 pm JST

@ the Capt.

Do not know if you are being sarcastic or just trying to be humorous.

Japanese people don't want American cars because they're pieces of crap!!!

Sarcasm dude, relax

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And this is the nation that Abe wants to support in a war against North Korea. The US has military bases all over Japan and just poops on the Japanese people. When will Japan regain its sovereignty?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SlickdrifterFeb. 23  01:45 pm JST has it correct to a point. Eoupean autos and primarily the German autos are more of the luxury style vehicles “preferred” by the majority of Japanese’s nationals, WHO can afford the stiff import tarrifs placed on all motor vehicles — here, all Japanese consumers must agree. And herein lys the center of President Trump's statements.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cars, whiskey, and beer are the only products Japan makes that are any good. Furniture is crap, home appliances are crap, speakers are crap, houses are crap, apartment buildings are crap, movies are crap, music is crap, clothes are crap, shoes are crap, cigarettes are crap, computers are crap, software is crap, rockets are crap, satellites are crap, etc.

Japanese cars are good but the difference between them and foreign cars is not as wide as the 1980s and 90s. Rarely a week goes by without millions of Japanese cars being recalled. Japan is still years behind in terms of styling. No one, including Japanese, dream of owning any Japanese car. That is not true for American and European cars.

As for the quality of Japanese cars compared to US cars - according to J.D. Powers American cars are number one or number two in nearly every type of car. Japanese are number one in nine categories while American cars are number one in four. The differences between number one and two are basically a coin flip. European cars are number one in just two categories and are nearly non-existent in the other categories.

The non-tariff barrier that prevents US cars from making headway in Japan is the illegal control Japanese manufacturers hold over their dealer networks. A Ford dealer in America has no problem selling Toyota cars. He makes money on the sale of either car. US manufacturers cannot stop the dealer from selling other makes of cars. In Japan, a Toyota dealer will not sell a Ford car because Toyota will not allow it. That control is illegal in Japan but the government does not enforce the law. The cost to build a dealership network in Japan is prohibitive considering the size of the market.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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