Trump Needs Extra American Vehicles in Japan. Japan’s Drivers Don’t.

Mr. Trump accuses Japan of shutting American manufacturers out, by means of throwing up regulatory boundaries and rigging the foreign money marketplace in want of Jap manufacturers. “They do issues to us that make it unimaginable to promote automobiles in Japan,” he stated in a gathering with American executives closing month.

Such communicate is alarming in Japan, the place the car trade is a pillar of the economic system. When Top Minister Shinzo Abe meets Mr. Trump beginning on Friday, heading off a business struggle will likely be on the most sensible of his schedule. Mr. Abe’s executive has been floating proposals, like the usage of Jap pension cash to fund Mr. Trump’s infrastructure plans, that would possibly mollify the president and assist offset Japan’s massive business surplus.

To the Jap, Mr. Trump’s accusations about business boundaries can appear extraordinary.

“In fact American automobiles don’t promote in Japan,” stated Mr. Masui, whose admiration for American automobiles does now not prolong to their producers’ advertising methods.

“American automobiles have a nasty symbol — they aren’t fuel-efficient, they destroy down,” he stated. “That’s now not in reality true anymore, however sellers don’t take some time to persuade folks. I’ve by no means observed a TV industrial. You pass to a automotive display, they’re now not there.”

The automobiles are not at all at the streets. Of the just about 5 million automobiles and light-weight vans offered in Japan closing yr, simply 15,000 have been American, or zero.three %. Toyota sells extra automobiles at a unmarried mega-dealership in California.

Masato Suzuki manages a automotive dealership in Machida, a suburb west of Tokyo, that makes a speciality of American imports. His lot is covered with hulking Lincoln Navigator S.U.V.s, full-size industrial vehicles and muscle automobiles like Dodge Chargers and Ford Mustangs….

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