JAPAN: Strong yen makes small car exports 'unfeasible'

By just-auto.com editorial team | 10 August 2010

The current strength of the yen makes it unprofitable for Toyota to export the Yaris or Corolla from Japan and the company is examining whether it could produce the Yaris profitably in the US where the car sells for about US$12,600, Atsushi Niimi, executive vice president for global manufacturing, told reporters in the US.

The yen is close to a 15-year high against the US dollar and has advanced 14% against the euro so far this year. The yen is up at least 3% against the world's 16 major currencies.

Toyota is the biggest exporter of vehicles to the US. “Given the current exchange-rate situation, it isn’t feasible, in terms of a business model, for us to produce Corolla or Yaris in Japan and export them,” Niimi said. “We’re working very hard to reduce costs to maintain the appeal of these cars.

“By way of technological innovation, we’d like to realise a high level of productivity, as well as a low amount of investment, so we can maintain a system where we can export some vehicles overseas,” he said, without elaborating.