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Ford to exit Japan, citing its ‘closed’ market

AP

Ford Motor Co. is pulling out of Japan and Indonesia, saying that market conditions in each country have made it difficult to grow sales or make sustained profits.

“Japan is the most closed, developed auto economy in the world, with all imported brands accounting for less than 6% of Japan’s annual new car market,” spokesman Neal McCarthy said. The 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement in its current form will not improve Ford’s ability to compete there, he said. Congress could vote on the pact this year.

Neither market is large for the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker. Last year Ford sold only 6,100 cars and trucks in Indonesia and only 5,000 in Japan, where it has accused the government of protecting domestic brands.

The company in an emailed statement said that the decision was communicated to employees and dealers on Monday. Ford will exit the countries before the end of the year and plans to explain to customers its commitment to servicing cars, providing parts and making warranty repairs.

McCarthy said auto sales are expected to decline in Japan in the coming years. Analysts have said that is due to an aging population and declining interest in cars among younger people in urban areas.

In Indonesia, it was difficult for Ford to compete without local manufacturing and vehicles to sell in key market segments, McCarthy said. Ford has restructured its business there but still has less than 1 percent of the market with “no reasonable path to sustained profitability,” he said.

When the trade agreement was being negotiated in 2013, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas and a former head of its Asia-Pacific operations, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should be told to open Japan’s automobile market.

“We hope the U.S. government will send a clear message that any future trade policy with Japan must ensure a level playing field and not come at the expense of American workers,” Hinrichs said.

  • Steve Jackman

    News of Ford pulling out of Japan comes on the heels of Citibank having just shut its operations in Japan. In my decade living in Japan, I have seen countless American companies forced to leave Japan due to Japan’s extremely closed nature which makes it almost impossible for foreign companies here to do business on an equal footing with Japanese companies.

    It upsets me that my American government lets this go on, where Japanese companies are given full and equal access to the American market, yet the same is not the case for American companies trying to do business in Japan. The ACCJ needs to shed light on this issue by advocating for American businesses in Japan, instead of being a lap dog to Japanese interests. This is also why the TPP legislation should not be passed in the U.S.

  • Steve Jackman

    News of Ford pulling out of Japan comes on the heels of Citibank having just shut its operations in Japan. In my decade living in Japan, I have seen countless American companies forced to leave Japan due to Japan’s extremely closed nature which makes it almost impossible for foreign companies here to do business on an equal footing with Japanese companies.

    It upsets me that my American government lets this go on, where Japanese companies are given full and equal access to the American market, yet the same is not the case for American companies trying to do business in Japan. The ACCJ needs to shed light on this issue by advocating for American businesses in Japan, instead of being a lap dog to Japanese interests. This is also why the TPP legislation should not be passed in the U.S.

  • Steve Jackman

    News of Ford pulling out of Japan comes on the heels of Citibank having just shut its operations in Japan. In my decade living in Japan, I have seen countless American companies forced to leave Japan due to Japan’s extremely closed nature which makes it almost impossible for foreign companies here to do business on an equal footing with Japanese companies.

    It upsets me that my American government lets this go on, where Japanese companies are given full and equal access to the American market, yet the same is not the case for American companies trying to do business in Japan. The ACCJ needs to shed light on this issue by advocating for American businesses in Japan, instead of being a lap dog to Japanese interests. This is also why the TPP legislation should not be passed in the U.S.

    • 69station

      Can’t comment on Ford, but Citibank was only ever interested in high-value individuals in Japan. They thought they could just attract such individuals with flash advertising and stupidly imagined this would quickly overcome long-term banking relationships that already existed.
      Trying to get around the laws which prevent Japanese banks from refusing deposit accounts to upstanding individuals, they demanded outrageous minimum deposits and their customer service in branches was far inferior. Add to this their poor customer service generally and typically-Western aggressive credit card policies and I’m not surprised they didn’t even make enough profit to cover the very high salary of their ex-pat Japan head. Good riddance to them: they couldn’t compete.

      • Steve Jackman

        Citibank had been in Japan since1902 and from my experience had much better customer service and products than the stodgy Japanese banks. Their fees and minimum deposit requirements were also in line with other Japanese banks, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about. This is not a Citi specific problem, since almost all other foreign banks have also exited Japan.

      • 69station

        From my experience, customer service was terrible. Needing a confirmation document from them that I had a bank account with them, they simply said, “we don’t do that.” At a local bank, no problem, any teller can handle it. Their credit card policies were totally out of line with the norm here. With a Japanese CC, when you challenge a charge to your a/c, they delete it from your bill instantly and only reinstate it if it is later proven that the charge is valid. Citibank? Pay us first and then we’ll investigate and refund you X months down the line if we feel like it. And so it goes on…
        Japanese banks have NO minimum deposit requirement, with Citibank it started at 300,000 then was increased.
        Having ‘been here since 1902’ means nothing other than having a representative office. What we are talking about here is their attempt since the 90s to break into the retail banking market. They failed miserably.
        There are still many foreign insurance companies and brokerages in Japan. Name one that isn’t.

      • 69station

        From my experience, customer service was terrible. Needing a confirmation document from them that I had a bank account with them, they simply said, “we don’t do that.” At a local bank, no problem, any teller can handle it. Their credit card policies were totally out of line with the norm here. With a Japanese CC, when you challenge a charge to your a/c, they delete it from your bill instantly and only reinstate it if it is later proven that the charge is valid. Citibank? Pay us first and then we’ll investigate and refund you X months down the line if we feel like it. And so it goes on…
        Japanese banks have NO minimum deposit requirement, with Citibank it started at 300,000 then was increased.
        Having ‘been here since 1902’ means nothing other than having a representative office. What we are talking about here is their attempt since the 90s to break into the retail banking market. They failed miserably.
        There are still many foreign insurance companies and brokerages in Japan. Name one that isn’t.

      • Steve Jackman

        I happen not to agree with you, but I’m sure the folks at METI – Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry would be proud of you.

      • 69station

        As usual, when presented with hard facts that challenge your monolog, you resort to unamusing and irrelevant comments that show you as the cultural bigot that you are.

        Please don’t stop.

      • 69station

        From my experience, customer service was terrible. Needing a confirmation document from them that I had a bank account with them, they simply said, “we don’t do that.” At a local bank, no problem, any teller can handle it. Their credit card policies were totally out of line with the norm here. With a Japanese CC, when you challenge a charge to your a/c, they delete it from your bill instantly and only reinstate it if it is later proven that the charge is valid. Citibank? Pay us first and then we’ll investigate and refund you X months down the line if we feel like it. And so it goes on…
        Japanese banks have NO minimum deposit requirement, with Citibank it started at 300,000 then was increased.
        Having ‘been here since 1902’ means nothing other than having a representative office. What we are talking about here is their attempt since the 90s to break into the retail banking market. They failed miserably.
        There are still many foreign insurance companies and brokerages in Japan. Name one that isn’t.

      • 69station

        From my experience, customer service was terrible. Needing a confirmation document from them that I had a bank account with them, they simply said, “we don’t do that.” At a local bank, no problem, any teller can handle it. Their credit card policies were totally out of line with the norm here. With a Japanese CC, when you challenge a charge to your a/c, they delete it from your bill instantly and only reinstate it if it is later proven that the charge is valid. Citibank? Pay us first and then we’ll investigate and refund you X months down the line if we feel like it. And so it goes on…
        Japanese banks have NO minimum deposit requirement, with Citibank it started at 300,000 then was increased.
        Having ‘been here since 1902’ means nothing other than having a representative office. What we are talking about here is their attempt since the 90s to break into the retail banking market. They failed miserably.
        There are still many foreign insurance companies and brokerages in Japan. Name one that isn’t.

      • 69station

        From my experience, customer service was terrible. Needing a confirmation document from them that I had a bank account with them, they simply said, “we don’t do that.” At a local bank, no problem, any teller can handle it. Their credit card policies were totally out of line with the norm here. With a Japanese CC, when you challenge a charge to your a/c, they delete it from your bill instantly and only reinstate it if it is later proven that the charge is valid. Citibank? Pay us first and then we’ll investigate and refund you X months down the line if we feel like it. And so it goes on…
        Japanese banks have NO minimum deposit requirement, with Citibank it started at 300,000 then was increased.
        Having ‘been here since 1902’ means nothing other than having a representative office. What we are talking about here is their attempt since the 90s to break into the retail banking market. They failed miserably.
        There are still many foreign insurance companies and brokerages in Japan. Name one that isn’t.

      • Clayton Forrester

        I had good experiences in my 20-odd years as a Citibank customer at their Ginza branch. I’m just hoping and praying it will be the same with SMBC.

      • 69station

        Citibank’s ability to provide services to non-Japanese in Ginza is not what was being criticised. The reason they failed in Japan was their inability to provide the type of retail banking service that 99.9% of the population consider desirable.

    • James

      I can’t really complain about not having the chance to buy crappy American cars in Japan.

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

      • Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson

        I just looked that up, and it seems that the Ford Ranger, GT and Mustang all had recalls for the dodgy airbags.

        Although I cannot find US or Japan figures, in Canada, the numbers are 873,738 Hondas, 259,600 Chryslers, 90,245 Nissan, 47,000 Mazdas, 27,523 Fords, 18,979 Toyotas, 11,131 BMWs and 1,112 Subarus, so US manufactures were not immune to the issue as you seem to be implying.

      • Steve Jackman

        “I just looked that up, and it seems that the Ford Ranger, GT and Mustang all had recalls for the dodgy airbags.” Ken, hate to break this to you, but Ford is not in the business of making airbags. I didn’t have to look this up, I just know. Have you actually ever owned a car?

      • James

        Quite a lot of them.

        And shall we talk about how GM covered up their ignition switch problem that killed dozens of people? That was a far bigger scam than VW but Americans and the American media have always been very critical of foreign companies.

      • Steve Jackman

        Unintended acceleration of Toyota cars in the US?

      • Steve Jackman

        Unintended acceleration of Toyota cars in the US?

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

      • Steve Jackman

        And how many of them were equipped with Takata air bags?

    • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

      Citibank did not shut its operations in Japan. Citi is alive and well in Japan. They just sold out of the consumer businesses.

      • Steve Jackman

        Citi has exited all retail operations and certain corporate services in Japan. They now have very little left here even for corporate services. It is not alive and well in Japan.

      • Steve Jackman

        Citi has exited all retail operations and certain corporate services in Japan. They now have very little left here even for corporate services. It is not alive and well in Japan.

    • Buck

      There are
      few if any tariff barriers for American automobile manufacturers in Japan. It’s all non tariff barriers and consumers personal choices that impact Fords situation. Ford would need to open thousands of small local sales offices all over the country, plus substantially increase advertising. Japanese’s automobile corporations came into America in a big way, offered a cheaper and better product. Simply put, Ford makes good trucks and not very good tiny cars. Moreover, even if they made a good small car, they would need to convince
      Japanese people, the consumer, that they should stop buying Japanese cars and try something foreign. The only foreign vehicles I see are luxury brands like Bens and nice BMWs, there is a reason for that and it has little to do with tariffs or being on unequal footing with Japanese companies.

      • KenjiAd

        Japanese’s automobile corporations came into America in a big way, offered a cheaper and better product.

        Actually the first generation of Japanese cars in the US were cheap alright, but basically crap. I saw a documentary in which a Toyota engineer was saying their car couldn’t accelerate fast enough to get onto the US highways. lol

        I think they got lucky because of the oil shock in 70’s when American buys, first time in the history, started paying attention to fuel efficiency where small Japanese cars had an edge.

      • Buck

        Yea, good point. Japanese cars had a lot of issues at first, you are right about that. My main point was about American manufacturers coming into Japan.

      • Buck

        Yea, good point. Japanese cars had a lot of issues at first, you are right about that. My main point was about American manufacturers coming into Japan.

    • tisho

      The only one who should care about this are the Japanese consumers, who are the real losers here. They will now have fewer alternatives, and as a result of having less competition, domestic car manufacturers can now raise the prices even further. American government has made more than enough recommendations in the past for Japan to open up its markets, in particular removing the tariffs on automobile imports. American people win by having Japanese companies sell their products in America, Americans are the ones with the higher standard of living, not the Japanese, so they can keep on closing their market, their own people should care more about this, they are the losers. Trade is not about winning, it’s a voluntary exchange between individuals.

      • Steve Jackman

        I think it’s not just Japanese consumers, but also all non-Japanese companies which lose when Japan closes its home market to foreign companies.

        Let me explain. Japan has perfected the art of erecting all kinds of barriers, which almost guarantees that the vast majority of foreign firms will fail here. The resulting lack of foreign competition means that Japanese firms create oligopolies and collude to keep prices high in Japan for domestic customers. These high prices at home in Japan provides Japanese companies with fat margins and they use these profits to fund R&D, as well as, to undercut non-Japanese companies on prices in their home countries (it’s a little like dumping, except much smarter and more subtle). So, in a way, lack of foreign competition at home in Japan allows Japanese companies to gain an unfair advantage in foreign markets overseas.

      • tisho

        Non-Japanese companies do not lose by not entering the Japanese market, because you can’t lose something you never had. It’s more accurate to say, they don’t gain more profit by entering new markets, but they don’t lose anything, because they never had that profit to begin with, the same way Facebook does not lose by not being in the Chinese market, because they never were in the first place, they are trying to enter in order to gain a lot of profit. The only losers are the customers who miss the new opportunities. Even if Japanese companies become more competitive in a foreign market, that’s a good thing for the consumer, the only way to be competitive and win in a free market is by providing the best service on a lower price, you have to be better than your competition otherwise you lose, the consumers want the cheapest good quality stuff, so it doesn’t matter how big a company is, a giant like Wall Mart can easily lose to a mom and pops shop, if the small shop offers better products, that’s what the consumer wants, the more competition the better it is for the consumer, he gets more alternatives, on a lower prices, his standard of living gets higher. Japan is the loser by not allowing foreign competition, Toyota and Honda may be the largest companies but it doesn’t matter, the Japanese consumer still loses, because there are fewer alternatives to choose from. Like i’ve said before, trade is one way street, it is not a competition, your partner shoots himself in the foot and loses by closing their markets for free trade, he is worst off even though some companies might be better off, but the average consumer is worst off.

        This is not coincidental either. Big companies love bureaucrats and big government, because big companies can comply with all the regulations, but small companies cannot. No small companies = no competition = win by default. There is a reason why the Japanese market is so closed for foreign competition. Big companies lobby the bureaucrats to impose tariffs on foreign companies so that they can have no competition and dominate the domestic market, in return, when the bureaucrats retire, a nice cozy job is waiting for them at those same companies, this cycle of corporate interest + bureaucrats is called Amakudari. The solution is not to have good bureaucrats, the solution is to have NO bureaucrats. The key is to take away the power of the government to impose tariffs and regulations, if you take away their power to impose tariffs, they become worthless to corporations, whats the point in bribing someone who has no power to do you a favor. As long as they have that power, they will always be a target for corporate interests. That is why the US constitution is designed to LIMIT the power of government, not to giver power to individuals, but to prevent government from taking away the power of the people. When Yukio Hatoyama became prime minister, he explicitly said that he wants to kill the

        bureaucracy and limit the government, as we all saw, it didn’t work very well for him. Another person that i think can achieve this is Ichiro Ozawa, who has been aiming at killing the Japanese bureaucrats for a long time now, and not surprisingly, he is has been riddled with scandals, he is target of the bureaucrats.

      • Steve Jackman

        I think you missed the point of my post.

      • tisho

        I understood what you wanted to say, and as i said in my comment, i know this, but i said that it doesn’t matter, because the consumer wins anyway. Like i said the only way to win in a free market is by beating your competition, which can happen either by providing superior products or a lower price so that the consumers can pick you over your competitors, or if you make the government handicap your competition or not allow it to enter at all. Obviously you would need some advantage to beat your competition, how you get that advantage is another story, you could be just lucky to have hired the right people, or stole money from somewhere and created superior products, in any case, it is irrelevant to the consumer, that’s what im saying.

      • Mots

        Not correct that “the Japanese consumers, who are the real losers here.” The car market is extremely competitive in Japan, probably more so and with a wider variety than in the US. The Japanese consumers dont need any fictitious competition from Ford, which refused to develop and sell cars that Japanese need. the market here is extremely competitive and no US company sells a car anywhere in the world that competes with the types of cars and quality and service found in Japan. I bought a new K car for 10,000$ recently that is much more suitable for the roads here (steering radius, boxy shape, extremely high gas mileage efficiency) that is far from anything that Ford ever designed or built. The biggest influence of US car companies on the Japanese car market has been via TPP negotiations where they recently forced the Japanese government to drastically increase the tax on K cars (which the US companies dont sell) instead of trying to compete in the Japanese market. This US car company activity is NOT good for the Japanese consumer who is better off if Ford never paid attention to the market here.

  • Steve Jackman

    News of Ford pulling out of Japan comes on the heels of Citibank having just shut its operations in Japan. In my decade living in Japan, I have seen countless American companies forced to leave Japan due to Japan’s extremely closed nature which makes it almost impossible for foreign companies here to do business on an equal footing with Japanese companies.

    It upsets me that my American government lets this go on, where Japanese companies are given full and equal access to the American market, yet the same is not the case for American companies trying to do business in Japan. The ACCJ needs to shed light on this issue by advocating for American businesses in Japan, instead of being a lap dog to Japanese interests. This is also why the TPP legislation should not be passed in the U.S.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

    • KenjiAd

      Also American cars have image problems, particularly in reliability. While reliability of American cars has improved a lot, some exceeding that of certain Japanese brands, it’s hard to beat the brand recognition of Toyotas and Hondas in their home country.

      I think it was a strategic mistake for Ford to fight in the small-car market in Japan. They might have a better chance selling big trucks and SUVs, the market that is not popular in Japan and therefore scarcely served by Toyota and Honda.

      It’s a shame that people didn’t buy Fiesta. It’s a nice car with zippy feel.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

  • Stephen Kent

    In developed countries, the automobile industry has relied on cars being seen not merely as a means of transportation but as a symbol of affluence that people should aspire to own and then change periodically when they feel they’ve had their previous one for too long. But as this article points out, most of the younger urban dwellers in Japan seem to have realised that cars are definitely not the way to get around as Japanese cities (other than in central commercial areas) are in no way designed for humans and automobiles to coexist harmoniously, and besides, most urban areas already provide cheap, convenient public transportation.

    And that just leaves people who have a practical need for their own transportation. To me, it sounds slightly like sour grapes on Ford’s part as the picture of the Fiesta in this article clearly illustrates that they failed to develop the kind of motorized-box-on-wheels that many Japanese people who actually do need a car seem to go for.

  • blimp

    Completely independent of whether Ford as a company is a skilful company, or whether their products are any good as well as competitively priced I think Japan and especially its Government should be really concerned about foreign companies leaving Japan. This for Japan mean less FDI, less technology transfers, less help for Japanese companies when investing abroad, less highly skilled human capital and so on.

    Japan is at the absolute bottom when it comes to FDI among the OECD countries.

    • Clickonthewhatnow

      I could see this as a problem if Ford had entered the competition at all. How long have you been in Japan, and how many Fords have you seen? If it’s more than one a year, I’d be amazed.

      • blimp

        The problem is that it is just not Ford, It is T-Systems, Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, RBS, Vodafon, Virgin, Curry & Brown, Umicore, Alstom, and probably more that I don’t know of or can’t remember off the top of my head. I don’t know the US side very well. It should be added though that of the above companies not all have completely withdrawn from the Japanese market.

        While the companies hopefully have solid reasons for leaving Japan, so they might not suffer, Japan will for the reasons giving in my previous post. On top of that in international studies, foreign companies are usually shown as paying higher salaries than domestic companies.

        To answer one of your questions, as I am completely uninterested in cars, I can’t remember having seen one Ford or what ever brand they might have in their portfolio.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        I’m not sure about the other companies, but in regards to Ford, if they were interested in staying in Japan, you’d think that in 5 years of reading the newspaper and watching TV that I would have seen some presence of them SOMEWHERE. They may be leaving now, but it seems they gave up long ago on penetrating the Japanese market, not that I blame them.

      • Steve Jackman

        Chicken and egg.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        Well, Steve, you’ve been here a while, tell me, have you ever seen an advertisement for Ford in newspapers or on TV? That’d be a good step for a company that wants to sell more of their product, wouldn’t it? What have they been doing for the last five years or more? Did the marketing folks there all die in a tragic carbon monoxide accident?

      • Steve Jackman

        That’s a good partial list of European companies that have either exited or severely curtailed operations in Japan. Trust me, the list of American companies that have been forced to leave Japan is much much longer. It makes me laugh when some of my fellow-Americans call Japan one of America’s strongest allies. As the saying goes, with friends like this, who needs enemies?

    • Steve Jackman

      Turning more Galapagos every day!

  • tisho

    In conclusion:
    Japanese automobile industry = winners
    Japanese consumers = losers
    Just like the bureaucrats want it.

  • skillet

    I like Ford’s. I will not rule out buying one. Especially a Ford truck. But at the end of the day, Japanese still make better cars. I have two Japanese cars and one American car. They are all pretty good. Lasted a long time. My 2000 Toyota Corolla is still running strong after 150ooo miles. And my Lincoln Towncar from 1996 is still running fine even though I cannot open the trunk, do not have heat or AC, and have to get out on the passengers side as the door is broken.

    None of my cars would be allowed on the road in Japan. But if Japanese cars are better (but just slightly), there is no reason for a Japanese person to buy American. Especially when he can buy a decent car and help Japan.

    As an American, I can buy a Ford, a decent car. But I am not really helping the USA any more. Ford sold out to globalism long ago. 20 years ago, as a patriotic American, I was still willing to buy an inferior USA car is long as there was not too much difference. I wanted to help the USA.

    But now, I just buy what I want. My next car will be Japanese most likely. I want a NISSAN truck. (Even if Nissan is owned by French now).

    If Ford were still emplyoing USA auto workers and were loyal to them, I might re-consider.

    • KenjiAd

      As an American, I can buy a Ford, a decent car. But I am not really helping the USA any more. Ford sold out to globalism long ago. 20 years ago, as a patriotic American, I was still willing to buy an inferior USA car is long as there was not too much difference. I wanted to help the USA.

      cars_dot_com has something called American-made index by which they analyze how much of the cars are really “made in USA.” Their 2015 index places two Japanese cars on #1 and #2 spots, Toyota Camry and Toyota Sienna.

      • skillet

        Not surprised

      • KenjiAd

        It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it. Ford F-150, a truck that could be argued an American icon, used to occupy the top spot in the “American-made index.” In 2015, F-150 dropped out of the list entirely. Kind of sad, though.

      • skillet

        It is. Americans love their small trucks, pick-ups. It is really hard to find a deal. Unlike a sedan. People drive their trucks until they no longer run, so you cannot find a good used one.

        I wish some coutnry were out there making cheap ones. I have been wanting a truck for a long time. Just can’t find the deal

      • skillet

        It is. Americans love their small trucks, pick-ups. It is really hard to find a deal. Unlike a sedan. People drive their trucks until they no longer run, so you cannot find a good used one.

        I wish some coutnry were out there making cheap ones. I have been wanting a truck for a long time. Just can’t find the deal

      • Steve Jackman

        NAFTA has a lot to do with American cars being made outside the US in Canada and Mexico. TPP will make it worse.

      • KenjiAd

        Steve, what are you smoking today? You sound reasonable. lol

      • Steve Jackman

        NAFTA has a lot to do with American cars being made outside the US in Canada and Mexico. TPP will make it worse.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Of all 12 members of the TPP, we Americans get the least gain according to projections. Vietnam would do the best, and Japan would not be shabby. The big reason is the further opening of our markets in return for little. We are essentially paying for an anti-China cabal with Big Pharma making sure drugs remain super expensive.

    The Detroit contingent of political leaders hate the TPP. Ford is among them, with good reason, since the Japanese auto industry reaps gains and ours gains very little.

    • Steve Jackman

      You are absolutely right. The U.S. will be a huge loser if TPP goes through. On the other hand, Japan will be one of the biggest winners. TPP is all driven by Obama’s misguided China containment policy, but it will fail in even accomplishing this. Dumb way to do a free trade pact.

    • zer0_0zor0

      That sounds like nonsense, what “projections” are you referring to?

      The agreement is not only about profit margins.

  • ponkawolla

    The Japanese build auto plants in the US to manufacture cars suitable to American tastes because they realize that Japanese-style cars may not be accepted in foreign markets. Often the process from concept to design to manufacturing is entirely housed in the US in order to make it as seamless as possible. Do American automakers make the effort to produce cars specifically suited to Japanese preferences? Or do they expect models that are popular in Europe and North America to sell equally well in a different culture?

    • Steve Jackman

      It seems that you don’t know the history of Japanese cars in America. The Japanese auto makers sold cars designed and manufactured in Japan in the U.S. market for a very long time. It was only after they had enough sales volume in the U.S. that they started manufacturing them in the U.S (this was also to hedge against a strong Yen). The Japanese market has never allowed American brands to get a foothold in Japan, so it is not feasible for them to manufacture here.

      By comparison, even the Chinese market is more open to foreign car brands than Japan. Foreign auto companies sell locally manufactured cars in China by the millions. In fact, General Motors has plans to shortly start selling Chinese made Buicks in America.

      • James

        Steve, you really shouldn’t be commenting by inventing lies. Establish the fact first, then shoot your mouth. It was only after the American government levied the so called chicken tax which unfairly targeted foreign car makers that Japanese automakers moved manufacturing to the US. Not because “It was only after they had enough sales volume in the U.S. that they started manufacturing them in the U.S”. Look up the chicken tax of the 1960s.

        I love how Americans start inventing facts to support their view

      • Steve Jackman

        “It was only after the American government levied the so called chicken tax which unfairly targeted foreign car makers that Japanese automakers moved manufacturing to the US. Not because “It was only after they had enough sales volume in the U.S. that they started manufacturing them in the U.S”. Look up the chicken tax of the 1960s.”

        Your timeline is seriously messed up. Japanese cars (these were almost all small cheap econoboxes like the Honda Civic) started gaining some popularity in the U.S only in the 1970’s (remember the oil shock?). Japanese companies started manufacturing cars in the U.S much later than this. I know the 1960s are a little hazy for many, but it’s time for a reality check.

      • James

        The Chicken tax was promulgated in the 1960s but it was in the 1980s that the classification of passenger vehicles was changed such that the tax was also application to them. It was then Japanese automakers moved manufacturing to the US

      • ponkawolla

        I think you overlooked my point that Japanese companies achieved widespread acceptance in the US because they were willing to cater to American tastes by designing and building cars specific to the US market, something that US automakers like Ford neglected in their failed pursuit of Japanese consumers. Something like 30% of cars in the Japanese market are JDM-only kei cars. Did Ford design and build smaller cars that catered to Japanese tastes or did they just bring over tried-and-tested models that worked overseas but were unknown in Japan?

        Anyways, just as the article mentioned, the automotive market in Japan is shrinking due to an aging population and growing disinterest among the youth. Ford is better off focusing on growth in much bigger markets like China.

      • InstallGentoo

        Originally they catered in only one way – less litres per kilometre.

      • InstallGentoo

        Originally they catered in only one way – less litres per kilometre.

      • ponkawolla

        I think you overlooked my point that Japanese companies achieved widespread acceptance in the US because they were willing to cater to American tastes by designing and building cars specific to the US market, something that US automakers like Ford neglected in their failed pursuit of Japanese consumers. Something like 30% of cars in the Japanese market are JDM-only kei cars. Did Ford design and build smaller cars that catered to Japanese tastes or did they just bring over tried-and-tested models that worked overseas but were unknown in Japan?

        Anyways, just as the article mentioned, the automotive market in Japan is shrinking due to an aging population and growing disinterest among the youth. Ford is better off focusing on growth in much bigger markets like China.

    • Steve Jackman

      It seems that you don’t know the history of Japanese cars in America. The Japanese auto makers sold cars designed and manufactured in Japan in the U.S. market for a very long time. It was only after they had enough sales volume in the U.S. that they started manufacturing them in the U.S (this was also to hedge against a strong Yen). The Japanese market has never allowed American brands to get a foothold in Japan, so it is not feasible for them to manufacture here.

      By comparison, even the Chinese market is more open to foreign car brands than Japan. Foreign auto companies sell locally manufactured cars in China by the millions. In fact, General Motors has plans to shortly start selling Chinese made Buicks in America.

  • fun_on_tv

    As someone who doesn’t drive, it doesn’t bother me if foreign car manufacturers put out. However as a consumer I worry about the long term problems of lack of competition.
    The PC market is a good example.

  • fun_on_tv

    As someone who doesn’t drive, it doesn’t bother me if foreign car manufacturers put out. However as a consumer I worry about the long term problems of lack of competition.
    The PC market is a good example.

  • Beaumont

    If the Japanese can think in terms of protectionism, so should the West rethink it’s mercantilism.

  • Badger Badgerism

    cuz they don’t want to buy “Planned obsolescence ” Junk

  • Badger Badgerism

    cuz they don’t want to buy “Planned obsolescence ” Junk