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While admittedly this is inspired by something a certain politician is saying, as I write, in Detroit about the TPP and Japanese domestic auto market protection, I mean this as a general rather than a political question:

Which North American produced car might have any significant market appeal in Japan or other foreign markets? I can't think of any, historically, and currently perhaps only the Bolt, if a RHD version were available. Even that would be going head to head with the Leaf.
 

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Smart EV or Fiat 500, but only if they were made narrow enough to fit into the Japanese kei car regulations (like the normal smart car)

All other US cars are too big to have any real appeal over there, obviously there will always be that one rich guy but you probably can't market to that.

And that market HATES diesel with a passion, so that one guy still won't buy a big three smoker.

Speaking of that one guy, How many TSLAs are over there by the way.
 

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I think Tesla would be the main car.

A difference is American autos are typically muscle cars, pickups, and SUVs, and regulations and size considerations might prevent those from gaining any ground in those countries.

On the US side, regulations are now pushing adoption of those vehicles, and the big American companies generally failed to capitalize on that trend, which is why it is a one way street, importing more autos than we export.

The Jeep Wrangler is another that is popular in some Asian countries, although it is a slightly different model.

Countries like S Korea have free trade deals with EU and US, so more imports are showing up there. In S Korea I saw mostly domestically (to S Korea) produced GM products as far as American cars were concerned, but I think some models are US import.

For the S Korea example, in 2012 they cut tarrifs on US imports, and eliminated them in 2016, and since 2012 imports of US models in S Korea have tripled or so.
http://m.yna.co.kr/mob2/en/contents_en.jsp?cid=AEN20160627003400320&site=0500000000&mobile
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Smart EV or Fiat 500, but only if they were made narrow enough to fit into the Japanese kei car regulations (like the normal smart car)

All other US cars are too big to have any real appeal over there, obviously there will always be that one rich guy but you probably can't market to that.

And that market HATES diesel with a passion, so that one guy still won't buy a big three smoker.

Speaking of that one guy, How many TSLAs are over there by the way.
Not to be overly argumentative, you make good points about the differences in the markets, but the Smart is, AFAIK, not made in a RHD version, and any FIATS sold there might find a niche market like the Mini, but be sourced elsewhere. Also, very small cars like this would be up against excellent Japanese domestic competitors.

The Tesla maybe, but it is big, expensive, and I don't know if it has a RHD version. (The only ones I saw in England were LHD.) So it's also a real niche product.

I just can't think of any real mass market North American vehicle that would sell in any numbers in Japan, regardless of tarriffs, unless maybe it is the Bolt. Does anybody know if it will be produced with RHD?
 

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An article from over a year ago - I'll rip it off (with credits) so you don't have to jump through subscription hoops:

WSJ said:
U.S. Car Exports Top 2 Million

Buyers in China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea Snap Up American Made Cars and SUVs


By Christina Rogers

Updated Feb. 5, 2015 6:32 p.m. ET

U.S. auto exports hit a record for the third year in a row in 2014 as strong demand for U.S. made cars and sport-utility vehicles, especially in the Middle East and Asia, offset concerns about a strengthening dollar.

The trend also was fueled by foreign-owned U.S. auto plants built in the U.S. Midwest and South that are now exporting more vehicles to other markets. Car makers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. that opened factories here to be closer to U.S. customers are now exporting too.

Last year, about 2.1 million new cars and trucks were built in the U.S. and shipped to other countries, the first time auto exports topped 2 million. The total is an 8% increase over 2013 and a 73% rise from 2004, according to figures released on Thursday by the U.S. International Trade Administration.

About half of U.S. car exports go to Canada or Mexico, and both countries are big exporters to the U.S. In Mexico, auto makers produced about 3.2 million vehicles last year, a 10% increase over 2013, and exported about 82% of them, mostly to the U.S., according to the Mexican Automotive Industry Association.

U.S. export growth defied a strengthening dollar last year, which makes the practice less profitable. A big part of the increase stems from America-built Fords, Jeeps, BMWs and even Nissans and Toyotas shipped overseas. A growing number of U.S.-made cars are now going to countries including China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

“The U.S. has become one of the low-cost places to build cars,” said Ron Harbour, a senior partner with the Oliver Wyman Inc. management consulting firm.

More competitive labor rates and leaner manufacturing—the result of the auto industry’s restructuring during the recession—are helping U.S. auto plants better compete on the global stage. While the dollar is currently strong, the U.S. currency had been weak over the past few years and that played a big role in fueling recent momentum.

The U.S. dollar’s strength against the Japanese yen and euro is too recent to affect sourcing plans.

“Of course, we closely watch currency exchange, but we don’t make changes in production or allocation based on temporary fluctuations in the exchange rate,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co. ’s. North American chief, said this week.

Foreign-based car makers like BMW AG and Daimler AG are helping to drive the rise in U.S. auto exports. Both established plants in the U.S., mostly to build SUVs, and both export the majority of their U.S. production.

The 2.1 million cars exported represent about 18% of all U.S. new-vehicle production last year, according to data provider WardsAuto.com. U.S. light-vehicle production was 11.4 million in 2014. And the U.S. is still a big importer of foreign-made cars and SUVs. The U.S. auto trade deficit was about $109.4 billion last year.

Demand for U.S. vehicles is growing. Ford exports a number of SUVs, including the Ford Explorer and Lincoln MKC, to Asia and the Middle East. This year, it began exporting Mustang sports cars globally from a factory in Michigan—a first for the Dearborn auto maker.

Jeep also has turned into a routine exporter under U.S.-Italian parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Last year, it sent 316,000 Jeeps abroad, including the Wrangler and Cherokee, up from 210,000 exported in 2012.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW both are planning expansions of their SUV plants in the U.S. South, a move that could further give a boost to exports of those vehicles. The Germany luxury car makers currently export more than half of the total output from those plants.

BMW will spend about $1 billion to boost production of X3 and other SUVs at its plant in South Carolina by 50% to 450,000 vehicles in the next two years. A spokesman said “there is no doubt the number of vehicles exported will increase.”

“What’s happening is car makers are exporting out of the U.S. into a broader range of markets,” Mike Jackson, director of North American vehicle-production forecasting at researcher IHS Automotive, said. They’re also expanding the range of vehicles they export, Mr. Jackson added.

—Mike Ramsey contributed to this article.
Images:


Rows of cars waiting for export at the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, Wash. Photo: Leah Nash for The Wall Street Journal

 
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