U.S. manufacturers were increasingly filing dumping charges against foreign countries for products ranging from semi-conductors, steel, chemicals, cement, and autos.
The Commerce Department of the U.S. Government ruled that Toyota was guilty of the practice known as “dumping.” Senator Donald Riegle of Michigan said, “The government today finally blew the whistle on the trade cheating by Japan.” The Toyota dumping case would now proceed to the international Trade Commission for a final ruling.
The Big Three hailed the decision, but a Toyota spokesman, Jim Olsen, called the decision “politically correct” but “a factual fantasy.”
Brian Riley of the Citizens for a Sound Economy said, “This is simply an effort by the Big Three to gouge American consumers by dramatically increasing prices. It’s protectionism, pure and simple.”
Testifying at the International Trade Commission hearings, the Big Three were hard-pressed to prove their case against Toyota. The Big Three’s market share had increased to 93% from 88% during the last year, while Toyota’s market share had dropped from 6% to 3%. The ITC reversed the Commerce Department’s ruling and decided four-to-two that Toyota was “not dumping.”
The U.S. Congress ramped up the pressure. Senator Reigle and House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri introduced legislation that would require Japan to lower its trade deficit by 20%. If Japan failed to meet this objective, the Japanese vehicles, whether imported or produced in the U.S., would need to be cut by 250,000 annually.
The Japan Ministry of International Trade and Industry decided to lower “voluntary quotas” of shipments of Japanese vehicles to the U.S. from 2.3 million to 1.6 million a year.
Despite the toxic anti-Toyota rhetoric, Lexus sales continued to stay strong, averaging close to 8,000 a month while increasing our market share to over 12.5%.
Warren Brown, the auto writer for the Washington Post, reported, “Industry and government officials say the next target is likely to be the new luxury cars put out by Toyota.”
“How long will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies? You can be sure of this: The LORD will set apart the godly for himself.” Psalm 3:2 (NLT)
The Lexus National Dealer Meeting in Japan that was postponed because of the Gulf War was scheduled for the spring of 1992.
(To be continued in “The Third Lexus National Dealer Meeting: Japan”)