Tag Archive | "Japan"

Honda Expands Air Bag Recall After Takata Complies with U.S. Order

TOKYO – Honda Motor Co called back about 690,000 cars in Japan and the United States to replace air bag inflators made by Takata Corp after the Tokyo-based parts supplier last week agreed to comply with U.S. orders to expand some of its previous recalls, reports Reuters.

Honda, Japan’s third-biggest automaker, disclosed the recall in filings in Tokyo and Washington.

Of the recalls announced on Thursday, about 350,000 are of vehicles registered in the United States and 340,000 are in Japan, Honda said.

Honda had just expanded its Takata-related recalls by nearly 5 million cars earlier this month to about 20 million vehicles worldwide since 2008. The move came after its own investigations found two new problems with inflators it had retrieved for sampling. The root cause of those defects is unknown.

In Canada, Honda did not widen previous recalls involving just over 700,000 vehicles, but will issue fresh correspondence reminding consumers of the safety issue, the company’s Canadian branch said on Thursday.

Takata is at the center of a global recall of tens of millions of cars for potentially deadly air bag inflators that could deploy with too much force and spray metal fragments inside vehicles. Regulators have linked six deaths to the component so far, all on Honda’s cars.

After months of resisting, Takata last week agreed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to roughly double its U.S.-based recall to 34 million vehicles spanning 11 automakers, including more models and years of production.

Honda said the latest recall in Japan includes about 80,000 cars fitted with driver-side air bag inflators that had been part of a previous recall, but which had not yet been collected.

Another 260,000 cars would be added to replace passenger-side air bag inflators in Japan, with more to follow overseas, Honda said.

The automaker will source replacement inflators for the additional recalls from Takata, as well as rivals Autoliv Inc, TRW Automotive [TRWTA.UL], and Daicel Corp, it said. Earlier this year, Michigan-based TRW was acquired by Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen.

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Japanese Car Makers Post Output Declines

TOKYO—Japan’s top three car makers all reported drops in domestic production in October, as vehicle sales were hit by sagging demand after the government terminated a purchase incentive program early in the previous month, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest car maker by sales volume, said production in Japan fell for the second straight month following the first drop in 11 months in September.

Japan’s second and third biggest car makers, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., posted their first domestic output falls in 12 and 10 months, respectively.

The fact that all three car makers cut domestic production in the month was a direct consequence of the end of government purchase incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles on Sept. 8.

The sluggish domestic production data are the latest bad news for Japan’s auto makers. Auto sales in Japan tumbled 23 percent industrywide in October, according to data released this month by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

The diminished appetite for new vehicles puts more pressure on auto makers, which are already struggling to cope with the strong yen. A high yen versus other major currencies reduces profits earned overseas when repatriated, and makes products more expensive outside Japan.

Car companies don’t expect domestic sales to pick up anytime soon.

Honda’s chief operating officer for domestic sales, Hiroshi Kobayashi, cautioned last month it may take a year for domestic demand to recover in yearly terms.

Mazda Motor Corp. Chief Executive Takashi Yamanouchi also said last month his company projects domestic sales to tank 28% in the fiscal second half ending March from the preceding six months.

Toyota said domestic production totaled 237,089 vehicles in October, down 22 percent year-to-year, as domestic sales sank 25 percent to 103,672 vehicles.

Nissan logged a 12 percent fall in output to 87,215 vehicles, as domestic sales dropped 24 percent to 33,626 vehicles.

Honda said it built 80,378 vehicles in the month, down 0.8 percent, as sales at home slumped 29.2 percent to 37,745 vehicles.

Among smaller Japanese car makers, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. was the only one to report output growth in the month. Mitsubishi’s output jumped 33 percent to 61,818 vehicles due to a lower year-earlier base and solid demand for the recently launched ASX small sport-utility vehicle in Europe.

Mazda said domestic production fell 0.4 percent to 76,412 vehicles, while Suzuki Motor Corp. posted a 0.3 percent domestic production decline to 84,752 vehicles.

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Japan to Allow U.S. Vehicles in its Clunkers Program

WASHINGTON – Japan’s embassy has announced that the country will open its “cash for clunkers” program to Detroit’s Big Three automakers, reported The Detroit News.

The Japanese Embassy, under heavy pressure from Congress, defended its program as nondiscriminatory but agreed to let Detroit’s Big Three take part. The three automakers use special import rules to sell a small number of vehicles in Japan.

Critics of the Japanese program say that while U.S. vehicles had been shut out of Japan’s “clunkers” program. Japanese brands grabbed 319,300 out of a total of 677,000 in sales in the $3 billion U.S. “cash for clunkers” program last year.

The emissions standards have yet to be set for American vehicles in the Japanese program, and not all will qualify. U.S. companies opt to use a set of rules that doesn’t require the same emissions testing as the Japanese.

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Congress Puts Pressure on Japanese 'Clunkers' Program

WASHINGTON – A group of 40 House Democrats — part of the New Democrat Coalition — wrote a letter Friday to the Japanese ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, calling for the country to allow U.S. manufacturers to participate in Japan’s “cash for clunkers” program, while Congress is planning two hearings on the issue in the coming weeks, reported The Detroit News.

Japan’s program is set to expire March 31, and the Japanese Diet — the country’s legislature — is considering extending it.

The Japanese government has rejected criticism that its $3.7 billion program unfairly excludes Detroit automakers.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee chaired by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, is planning to hold a hearing on the Japanese program on Jan. 26. The witness list hasn’t been finalized for the hearing.

Another hearing is planned for Jan. 21 on barriers to U.S. auto imports in Japan and South Korea by a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

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Japan Rejects Detroit 3 Criticisms of 'Cash for Clunkers' Program

Washington – The Japanese government has rejected criticism that its $3.7 billion “cash for clunkers” program unfairly excludes Detroit’s Big Three automakers, reported The Detroit News.

Satoshi Miura, a consular official in the Japanese Embassy in Washington who handles auto issues, said U.S. manufacturers could participate if they followed the same import rules as many others. Instead, U.S. companies opt to use a set of rules that doesn’t require the same emissions testing.

“The short answer is Japan believes that our program is fair,” Miura said today. “We have our ‘cash for clunkers’ program, but this is not only about stimulus but also for environmental policy.

“Any car can enjoy this program as long as they satisfy the same fuel efficiency standards, regardless if it is domestic or imported.” Miura said 43 percent of imported vehicles qualify for the program in Japan.

In a letter to the deputy U.S. trade representative Thursday, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC called the program “another example of Japan continuing efforts to discriminate against imported vehicles.”

The program makes “the vast majority of imports ineligible for the program’s significant tax cut benefit, regardless of the vehicle’s fuel efficiency,” the letter said.

Japan is providing up to a ¥250,000 ($2,830) tax cut for scrapping a car 13 years old or older toward the purchase of a new vehicle as long as it meets the 2010 fuel efficiency requirements and a ¥100,000 ($1,130) incentive for new vehicle purchasers who do not scrap a vehicle.

Under Japan’s program, no U.S. vehicles are eligible because of special import rules; 87 percent of Japanese-built vehicles are eligible. But the Japanese government noted that program is voluntary, and U.S. manufacturers can qualify if they use the same import guidelines that other companies use.

Domestic automakers have long railed over what they call unfair hurdles to selling vehicles in Japan and have been trying to get more access to the market. It’s unclear how much a favorable change would boost U.S. exports to Japan.

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