The Commerce Dept. turned up the heat on Japanese auto makers with its May 19 ruling that Mazda and Toyota are dumping minivans in the U.S. The agency was already pressuring the companies to increase their purchases of U.S. auto parts and their sales of U.S. cars in Japan. Japanese luxury cars may be Detroit's next target.
U.S. auto makers face one more hurdle: convincing the U.S. International Trade Commission that cut-rate Japanese minivan sales are harming the U.S. industry. That decision is due by the end of June. If Mazda and Toyota lose, they are likely to hike minivan prices rather than pay antidumping duties.