Ford Asks President Obama to Pressure Japan to Open Auto Market image

Ford asked President Obama to pressure Japan’s prime minister to stop weakening the yen and open the country’s auto market.

Last year, sales of foreign automakers in Japan accounted for less than 4%, according to Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas. The US automaker also expressed its concerns regarding the weakening yen, which has dropped with about 8% against the dollar since December 26th, giving the Japanese automakers higher advantage compared with the foreign ones.

“We hope the U.S. government will send a clear message that any future trade policy with Japan must ensure a level playing field and not come at the expense of American workers,” Hinrichs told workers at the Brook Park, Ohio, factory.

Ford has already begun its strategy to boost production in Asia, focusing mainly on China, where the company invested more than $4.9 billion to introduce in this market 15 new models by 2015, and become a tough rival for GM and VW. Tomorrow, President Obama and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet to strengthen their alliance against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and China’s territorial claims.

“Our workers and our businesses should not be disadvantaged by governments intervening in currencies,” Ford told reporters. “Today, we don’t feel our sales are being impacted or affected by this, but we’re concerned about what the long-term ramifications are.”