From Japan's Weak Yen, Toyota Gains Strong Advantage

Japan’s weak currency gives it another edge over U.S. carmakers
Corollas in Ohira: Toyota aims to turn out more cars bound for the U.S. Photograph by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Thanks to an obsessive emphasis on quality, Toyota Motor grew from a tiny spinoff of a Japanese loom manufacturer in the 1930s into the world’s largest automaker. Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda has nothing more virtuous than Japan’s weakening currency for a recent assist in his quest for even greater market-share dominance. The yen has fallen 16 percent against the dollar since Oct. 31. That gives Toyota and other Japanese carmakers a financial gain on every car, which they can use to cut prices, boost advertising, or improve their vehicles in ways not open to U.S. rivals.

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