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The initial prognosis for the Volkswagen Up! in Japan is going the same direction as the name of the car: three weeks after launch, 3,000 orders have been placed in Nippon. That beats Ford's sales total for the entire year and is almost a month's worth of BMW imports. Posting those numbers, Japan's Nikkei newspaper says the Up! "may beat the Golf subcompact to become the German automaker's most successful new-car launch in Japan."


The U.S. Car Allowance Rebate System (a.k.a. 'cash-for-clunkers') program was a short-term boon for automakers participating in our market. Sales went up, inventory went down and nearly 700,000 vehicles that would likely have otherwise ended up on used car lots were destroyed. And since the U.S. is essentially a free market where automakers around the globe are allowed to participate, Japanese and European automakers benefited from the program as well. In fact, Japanese automakers fared even bet

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