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Being a global automaker means having to deal with the rising and falling tides of currency. The climate is particularly difficult in Japan, where the yen is valued at record levels compared to the American dollar. Since a giant chunk of Japanese automotive exports are shipped off to America, that means greatly diminished profits.

For automakers, just-in-time production means parts and supplies arrive at the assembly plant on a regular basis, and that constant flow of parts means automakers don't have to pay for storage or track tens of thousands of individual items, saving huge sums of money.

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