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Japan's Transport Minister Seiji Maehara saying words we put into his mouth

Curiously, there was actual outrage in Congress recently over the fact that American cars were left out of Japan's version of a Cash-for-Clunkers program. We say curiously because Congress has been pretty copacetic for decades about Japan's lopsided, unfair import policies. But, when our elected officials learned that the roughly $2,500 given to Japanese consumers for their old beaters could not be put toward the purchase of a new American car, our lawmakers sprang into action.

Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow put together a bill that would have required near constant pressure on the Japanese until the program was opened up to U.S. cars. After all, during our recent Cash for Clunkers program, Japanese automakers were hugely beneficial, scoring nearly half of all Clunker-related sales (319,342 cars out of 677,000). Ultimately, it appears that Japan has caved to Stabenow's squeezing and they opened their program up.

Happy happy, joy joy time for the Detroit Three, right? Not exactly.

As it turns out, only certain small-volume cars imported under a special handling program that also meet Japan's 2010 emissions standards are eligible. Translated into English, only 700 new U.S. cars can theoretically be sold to Japanese consumers under this legislation, including the Ford Escape, Cadillac CTS and Chrysler Grand Voyager. But hey, at least Congress is happy. A symbolic victory is still a victory, no?

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty]


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  • 49 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      What will we see next? American companies complaining that only 3 models qualified? Should Japan lower their fuel efficiency standards for C4C so American companies won't feel like they're being discriminated against? What a joke.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They drive on the left in Japan. That's why they don't buy American cars.. we don't make them with steering on the right
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many american cars are imported to Japan? How many of these cars are designed for the Japanese market? Japan makes cars designed for the North American market. Has Cadillac, Chevy, Ford ever designed a car specifically for the JDM? They buy into the Japanese companies, but do not build cars in North America to export to Japan. Now the gov complains about the c4c program. Strange.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Has Cadillac, Chevy, Ford ever designed a car specifically for the JDM? "

        Why would they waste money doing that when there are so many barriers to importation into Japan? They might as well design a car for export to the moon.

        Anyway, I am sure there are plenty of people who would dig American-style cars if they could buy them in Japan.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Why would they waste money doing that when there are so many barriers to importation into Japan? They might as well design a car for export to the moon."

        Well... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_rover. We exported three to the moon. Is this more or less than the number that ever got through to Japan?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Translated into English, only 700 new U.S. cars can theoretically be sold to Japanese consumers under this legislation, including the Ford Escape, Cadillac CTS and Chrysler Grand Voyager. "----------If CTS qualifies i would imagine 2011 Mustang and Camaro would also qualify.

      Trade in your Justy for a Camaro and get money for that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Telling Japan what to do really makes America feel like a big man.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And upvoting and downvoting. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Can I pay money to upvote ngiotta even higher?
        • 5 Years Ago
        sticks and stones....
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you Japan phobic nrb?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was under the impression that we've been telling them what to do since 1945.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Next we should tell them to stop Whaling in spite on an international ban on the activity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        America doesn't even need to tell Japan what to do. Japan is like America's well-spanked child. Japan is America's child that China wishes Taiwan would be.
        • 5 Years Ago
        or maybe its just a matter of making something fair.

        i wonder how fast japans government would change their tune if we excluded all their companies from a C4C...
      • 5 Years Ago
      A) Which American car manufacturer makes cars in Japan?
      B) How many Japanese jobs were created as a result of American investement in car manufacturing in Japan.
      C) How many US cars are sold annually in Japan?

      Bonus question.
      D) Why on earth would Japanese buy a car that even Americans don't want? The hotly contested Civic/Corolla and Camry/Accord segment is a Japanese matter in the US. And F-150 is just too big.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wonder if the f150 would still be king here if we didn't have that 25% tarriff on imported trucks
      • 5 Years Ago
      ah poop. Oh well, I don't think the Japanese buy as many cars as we do anyway.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Doesn't matter. They still won't buy American cars. Why would they? They produce higher quality cars on the whole.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We could get together a "buy American" push to kick their asses (if they would only stop building better cars than we do).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jeez, what's your number?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you seen a JD Power quality survey recently? It's a dead heat at the top between the US and Japanese. So trot that dead horse back into the barn.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only Japanese people who would even take advantage of their own C4C program are the rich and elite who can afford to buy American cars with their high tax rates slapped onto them. Let's not take into account that the majority of Japanese roads aren't exactly designed for big cars.

      So what exactly has Congress "bitch" Debbie accomplished anyway? Pandered to the few wealthy Japanese people that can afford those few, overtaxed, American imports in Japan? Too bad all of the money the Eastern 3 is making in the U.S. doesn't exactly stay in the U.S.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As I have said many times, Japan has 0% on American cars whereas the US still has a 25% tariff on import pickup trucks. Stop spreading the BS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just reciprocate with rules about how many Japanese cars can be traded in in the US.
      Fight fire with fire.
      We Brits let our government allow preferential treatment to foreigners too. Nuts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally. Let the free market decide, not the Japanese government.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ....and the free market will decide not to buy American cars. Just watch.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't kid yourself. Free-market economics has and will never worked.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is no "free market." Not even a "Fair market." Read Jim Harbour's book, "Factory Man." The United States is the only country whose government uses trade as a political weapon to take away American jobs. The rest of the world uses manufacturing to build economic wealth and keep their own people employed. Japan. After World War II, we felt guilty we won the war. Japanese representatives told us they would go communist unless we rebuilt their country, imported their goods into the US, and allowed trade barriers to keep US goods out. China, Korea, and Germany did the same. We are in a war without guns, and losing our manufacturing ability to create wealth, becoming a debtor nation. Our foreign trade negotiators come from political perk jobs, working against trained negotiators. We lose every time. NAFTA anyone?
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