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Tokyo Bloodbath: 2009 Version

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Not that we needed any more bad news on a mid-recession Tuesday morning, but it appears that things in Japan keep getting worse.

First comes word from Honda that it's shelving plans for many new models for at least two years. That means many things--including no new, snazzy Acuras to compete in the luxury market. There's even talk of streamlining production of the company's highly popular Accord; currently, there's a version made for U.S. consumers, and another for the rest of the world, but making a one-size-fits-all model would certainly save some yen.

Then comes Toyota's announcement that it's shutting down production in its Japanese plants for 11 full days. The last time that happened? In 1993--for one day. The shutdown might have something to do with the company's profit projections--which sound healthy at $555 million, but not when you consider that last year, Toyota was over $18 billion in the black. Ouch.

None of us on this side of the Pacific is reveling in the fact that Japanese automakers are getting hit as badly as their American counterparts, but it's nice to know we're not alone.

--Richard Read


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