Japan’s efforts to depress the value of the yen give Japanese carmakers a $US12,000 advantage in the price of luxury cars shipped to the United States, the head of General Motors has said.


A fair value for the yen, which is trading at about 106 to the dollar, would be about 90 yen, GM chief executive Rick Wagoner told a Morgan Stanley conference noting, according to Reuters, that the Japanese government has repeatedly intervened in the markets to depress the value of the currency.


Wagoner reportedly said that, if the yen were trading at 90, the price of a Japanese luxury car in the United States, when translated to yen, would be about $12,000 higher while, for small cars, the price difference would be about $2,500.


Reuters said that, while the yen has strengthened over the past year, Japan’s central bank has intervened in the currency markets to keep it from strengthening further.


The news agency noted that GM officials have repeatedly called on Japan to curtail its intervention in the currency markets, and in the past have asked the US government to apply pressure on the Japanese.


Japanese automakers have responded that many of them build a number of vehicles in North America, and that their market share gains have been because of attractive new cars and SUVs that consumers want, and not because of the currency, Reuters added.