Last week, a freshly minted Ford CEO Mark Fields paid an inaugural visit to Capitol Hill, and he arrived singing a familiar tune. He blasted the nasty Nips for currency manipulation. Fields “urged lawmakers to take a tough line with Japan in ongoing trade talks as part of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said the DetN. To rile against alleged Japanese currency manipulation appears to be part of the job description of any Ford exec. In February, Ford Americas president Joe Hinrichs “took Japan and specifically Toyota to task for benefiting unfairly from currency manipulation,” wrote Automotive News. A year ago, it fell to then Ford CEO Alan Mulally to “chide Japan for currency manipulation.” Take one look at the chart above, and you begin to understand Ford’s obsession with Japan and specifically Toyota.
Strong Australian dollar kills its domestic car industry, while Ford kills the truth and the American farmer
“The end of Australia’s car manufacturing industry has arrived,” writes the Sydney Morning Herald after Toyota announced today that it will no longer make cars in Australia beyond 2017. “various negative factors such as an extremely competitive market and a strong Australian dollar, together with forecasts of a reduction in the total scale of vehicle production in Australia, have forced us to make this painful decision,” Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda said today.
With 22 million people, Australia has about the population of Beijing or Shanghai, and nobody would expect one city to carry three automakers. Cars had to be exported for volume, and they used to be a lucrative Australian export – until the Aussie dollar became too strong. Australians bought 1.14 million units last year, but most of them were imported from lower cost, cheaper currency markets.
What may have sounded like a bit of overdramatic copywriting on part of the Herald is actually true. All large automakers operating in Australia have called it quits. [Continue Reading]
The EU and the U.S. are both negotiating a trade pact with Japan. It could light a fire under international commerce while putting China in a box. Detroit wants it to fail. The style of the negotiations can’t be more different. In the U.S., the Detroit 3 regurgitate trite and untrue rhetoric. Meanwhile in Europe, shrewd dealmakers could alter Japan’s automotive landscape. [Continue Reading]