The lies are perpetuated by compliant mouthpieces such as Eamonn Fingleton at Forbes, who wrote recently that Volkswagen has “essentially no presence in Japan.” With more than 100,000 units brought in each year, sold through multiple dealer organizations, and with an import history to Japan that dates back to the early days of the Volkswagen Bug, execs at VW thought that line was uproarious. Fingleton also is convinced that there is no recession in Japan, and that the “lost decades” are a myth. Why? No beggars in the streets. It’s that simple.
For that type of on-the-spot research, we should send Fingleton on a fact—finding mission to a Ford or Chevrolet dealer in Japan. Within minutes, Fingleton would condede that they aren’t really trying to sell anything. Detroit has boycotted any Japanese car show since 2008. No advertising. Panel gaps wide enough to stick your hand through. Did I mention steering wheels on the wrong sides? Americans like Japanese compact cars more than the ones from Detroit, so Japanese do the popular thing in America.