2003 Tokyo Motor Show
Dollar Versus Yen
2003 Los Angeles Auto Show Ford banner with typeThe
opening of the Tokyo Motor Show was almost overshadowed by the long-festering
argument over the value of the U.S. dollar. The Big Three have complained for
more than two years that the Japanese competitors have gained an unfair
advantage because the Japanese yen has been undervalued. John Devine, GM's chief
financial officer and vice chairman, made it plain this week during a visit to
Tokyo that he believes the dollar is still overvalued versus the yen. The yen
should be valued around 100 yen to the dollar but the dollar continues to buy
more yen because the Japanese government has used its power to depress the value
of the yen in an effort to stimulate the economy. The Japanese government is
estimated to have spent more than $80 billion this year alone to protect the yen
from increasing in value, critics of the Japanese policy note.
2003 Los Angeles Auto Show Ford banner with type
Siemens Tokyo 2003Fujio
Cho, president of Toyota Motor Co., the Japanese company that benefited the most
from the policy, however, also told reporters in Tokyo that the yen is already
overvalued and it should actually trade at between 110 yen and 120 yen to the
dollar. Helmut Panke, the chairman of the chief executive officer of BMW, said
after a press conference in Tokyo that he believes the euro is overvalued and
the dollar is undervalued, given the relative strength of its economy. But he
also noted that no two economists seem to agree on what the proper values should
Siemens Tokyo 2003
The word coming out of Washington, D.C., however, is that the automakers and their allies, frustrated that President George Bush's lack of progress in lobbying the Japanese government for a cheaper dollar have gone for naught are now contemplating a using federal trade laws against the Japanese competitors. The so-called Section 301 actions were used for great effect by the steel companies, which pressured the administration to impose tariffs on the foreign rivals because they were subsidized by their government.
2003 Kia KCV3 conceptKia
KCV3 Catches Attention
2003 Kia KCV3 conceptEnlarge Photo
The South Korean automaker Kia didn’t have a press conference at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show but it did manage to sneak in a sporty concept vehicle, the KCV3, which got plenty attention thanks to a strategic display — and elegant models — placed along the well-traveled path between the three exhibit halls housing the displays of the various car manufacturers. If the throngs of male journalists lining up to snap picks actually took a glimpse at the KCV3, they'd get a good idea of a very real ragtop project underway at Kia. It is, however, several years away from production, sources suggested, a bit further out than the convertible being developed by the Korean carmaker's parent and one-time rival, Hyundai.
Mazda Ibuki: The Next Miata?
Mazda Ibuki conceptEnlarge Photo
Mazda hydrogen-powered RX-8Enlarge Photo