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EXCHANGE-RATE CRISIS

10/27/2010

Japanese automakers are in a full-blown crisis. They are getting hammered by the strength of the Japanese yen. The dollar is down to near-record lows, only 80 yen to the dollar. Nissan says that every one-yen increase against the dollar shaves nearly $190 million off its profits. Of course, it wasn’t that long ago when the yen was going in the other direction and Japanese automakers were racking up record profits. I remember back in the early ’80s when the yen was at 225 to the dollar and American automakers were at a massive cost disadvantage. In fact, for the better part of 30 years Japanese automakers have enjoyed a currency advantage, so now they’re about to experience what GM, Ford and Chrysler have been up against for decades.
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