South Korea drowns in imports

Mercedes-Benz_W221_S600_long-picture courtesy Wiklipedia

You probably won’t hear this a lot, it doesn’t fit the narrative of wicked Asians manipulating their own currency to flood America with cheap imports, while closing their own markets to Fords and Chevys. Who’s actually being flooded with imports is South Korea. In January, imports held a record 18.1 share of the pensinsular nation’s new car market, the Chosun Ilbo reports. [Continue Reading]

How Japan, “the most closed market in the world,” managed to import 360,000 foreign cars


Ford dealer in closed-off Tokyo. You can go there yourself!


I have posted the December and full year 2014 statistics on foreign car imports to Japan, and while doing so, I could not help but observe:

Whenever America gets a new President, someone briefs him on what buttons to push, just in case total thermonuclear war needs to be started. When Ford gets a new leader, he is instructed to accuse Japan of heinous crimes, whenever the opportunity arises, and there’s always a good time to do so. Alan Mulally, when he was the man in charge at Ford, called Japan “the most closed market in the world.” After Mark Fields took over at Ford, he immediately went to Washington, and “urged lawmakers to take a tough line with Japan.” The day-to-day business of demonizing Japan is farmed-out to the American Automotive Policy Council, the lobbying arm of Detroit’s Big Three. It calls Japan’s automobile market “the most protected and closed auto market in the industrial world.” The Japanese car market begs to differ.

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Where Detroit sees a closed market, Tesla sees open-minded Japanese customers

Tesla booth - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

tmsbannerTesla is the only U.S. carmaker that busts the American embargo of the Tokyo Motor Show. Despite its rich $15 billion market cap, Tesla showed up in Tokyo with a rather low-rent booth, tucked into a dark corner of the show’s West hall. On display are one and a half cars: A Model S, and a chassis.

Tesla doesn’t share the closed minded close market opinions of the Detroit triumvirate. [Continue Reading]

Liberated by China, Sweden’s Volvo returns to Japan, where imports boom

Volvo booth Tokyo - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

tmsbannerAfter a seven year forced absence, Volvo returns to the Tokyo Motor Show. American carmakers shunned the show in 2008, blaming carmageddon, but continued their boycott when business picked up again, claiming that the Japanese market is closed, and hence not worth their effort.  Back then, Volvo was owned by Ford, and had to do as told by the parent.
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U.S. barriers to entry caught on CBP video

Two weeks ago, a perfectly good Land Rover Defender ended in the claws of U.S. Customs. It died in front of running cameras. (Video after the jump.) The car’s crime: It was 30 years younger than stated. And we can’t have that in America. [Continue Reading]

After two lost decades, Japanese flock to pricey imports


The Nikkei [sub] has news of something unheard of since the onset of the Lost Decade: Imported luxury cars suddenly are all the rage According to the Nikkei, “the priciest foreign luxury cars are selling briskly as investors spend the money they made in the stock market rally.” The Tokyo wire has stories of a woman who can’t decide whether she should buy two Rolls-Royces, or economize and buy just one. That prompted us to have a look. [Continue Reading]