Big Three blowout puts Tokyo in further doubt

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on 01/16/2009

Several Japanese automakers pulled out of the Detroit Show – and now the Detroit Three have returned the favour, with an announcement that none will attend this year's Tokyo Show in October. Attending the show is “not one of our highest priorities”, said a Ford spokesman, a view that was echoed by GM and Chrysler.

The news throws the status of the 2009 Japanese show into further doubt. Earlier in the week, there were reports that the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), which organises the show, was considering cancelling or scaling down the biennial show.

One Japanese automaker, Nissan, has hinted that it might pull out of the show, and has been reported as saying it might not exhibit at any global shows this year. Nissan was absent at Detroit.

The US automakers have a negligible market presence in Japan, where imports account for just 6% of the market. Volkswagen is the market-leading import brand.

GM and Ford are focusing their Asian efforts on China, where they do not face the same level of restrictions thanks to their local manufacturing joint ventures. Both are slated to attend the Shanghai Show in April. GM sells around 1 million vehicles a year in China and Ford sells around 300,000.

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