Toyota fears USA backlash

Toyota Motor Corp. is bracing for possible political and consumer backlash caused by its rapid U.S. growth, according to an internal report obtained by the Free Press.

Toyota executives have publicly downplayed the importance of predictions that the Japan-based company will pass General Motors Corp. this year as the world's largest automaker. But the Toyota report says the company could face criticism because its U.S. sales are increasing while Detroit's automakers are losing sales and shuttering plants. With recent market-share gains and sales continuing to increase, we are becoming the de facto leader of the industry — that brings risks and responsibilities," according to a presentation by Seiichi (Sean) Sudo, president of Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing in North America. "Our competitors are jealous of our success."

Detroit's congressional allies of GM, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group say it's not jealousy. They say Japanese automakers are exploiting an artificially weak yen to make their products more affordable.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, said he is considering legislation aimed at pressuring Japan and other countries to stop manipulating their currencies to boost exports. More at Detroit Free Press

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