In the wake of the U.S.-Japan trade agreement-reached hours before the U.S. planned to impose 100% tariffs on Japanese luxury-car imports of almost $6 billion a year-most analysts contend that any real change will occur in Japan, not in the U.S.
The Japanese auto companies say they'll become tougher competitors by doing what they were already planning to do on their own: build more cars in the U.S. where costs are lower.
The Japanese did not agree to place any numbers on the U.S. parts they'll buy for their cars, but admitted that because of the yen's rise, it makes economic sense for them to buy foreign parts.
The real difference resulting from the accord somewhat depends on Detroit. After the deal was announced, the Big 3 scrambled to increase their dealer networks in Japan. Alexander J. Trotman, chairman and chief executive of the Ford Motor Co., and Robert J. Eaton, chairman and chief executive of Chrysler Corp., were quoted as saying they'd act immediately to capitalize on the agreement by signing dealers and customers for parts. They admitted that it's up to them to crack the Japanese market.
After all, Chrysler-for one-now has only one right-hand-model available in Japan, the Cherokee sport utility vehicle. By next year it hopes to have three others. Mr. Eaton said he hopes to have 500 dealers selling 100,000 Chrysler cars and trucks in Japan by the year 2000.
Governments are an integral part of global marketing-helping to open markets around the world. Just days after the auto agreement was reached, Eastman Kodak Co. pushed the U.S. government to investigate the stranglehold Fuji Film has on the Japanese market. But there's only so much government can do. It's time for marketers to do their jobs.