Is Japan Nudging Motown To Adapt?
Detroit may get some unexpected help in its efforts to export cars to Japan. Ford says the Export-Import Bank of Japan, a quasi-governmental agency, approached it recently to discuss making low-interest loans available to the auto maker. The Ex-Im Bank wants Ford to use the money to convert its cars to right-hand drive for the Japanese market. In 1992, the bank and the Japanese government set up a system to provide such financing to foreign companies, but so far no money has gone to American carmakers. Ford Treasurer David N. McCammon has cautioned that discussions about a possible $300 million loan were still preliminary. Although Ford denies that it approached the bank, a spokesman for Ex-Im Bank in Tokyo confirmed a Japanese press report that "some" U.S. carmakers have requested loans. He confirms talks are just starting.