As congress planned the controversial Cash-for-Clunkers program over the spring and summer of this year, there was some discussion of limiting new car subsidies to American brands; that provision was dropped, however, following outcries from other countries and from thousands of employees who work at foreign-brand factories and dealerships here in the U.S. In the end, foreign brands -- particularly Japanese makes -- saw a huge number of sales during Cash-for-Clunkers' brief run.
Now Japan has launched a similar program, and apparently, they're not playing quite as fairly: the Japanese government has blocked foreign automakers from being included in the program.
To be fair, the situation isn't exactly the same in Japan: although Japanese vehicles are hugely popular in America, Detroit accounts for just a tiny sliver of Japan's auto market (just 7,900 U.S. vehicles have been sold there this year), and of those, it's uncertain how many models would even meet the fuel-efficiency standards demanded by Japan's cash-for-clunkers program. However, it's a matter of principle, the Big Three argue. We're a bit surprised we haven't heard other countries like Germany chime in on this yet, but we expect to soon.