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Honda, Mitsubishi to Export U.S.-Made Cars to EC

March 6, 1991

TOKYO (AP) _ Two Japanese automakers said Wednesday they are exporting some of their U.S.-made cars to Europe, a market where Japan’s government has urged moderation to avoid trade frictions.

The first shipment of Honda Motor Co.’s U.S.-manufactured Accord wagons for Europe is to leave Jacksonville, Fla., next week.

The wagon, the first Honda car exclusively designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States, will be on sale in Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland by early April, said Honda spokesman Masaru Inoue.

American Honda, which built 430,000 cars last year, is planning to export about 5,000 wagons to the six European Community nations in 1991, he said.

Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan’s leading economic journal, said Honda would increase sales there to more than 10,000 by the mid-1990s.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motor Co. said it would start in April exporting some 1,200 U.S.-made Eclipse sports cars, a three-door model made only in the United States, to Switzerland, Austria and Sweden.

The Eclipse, manufactured by Diamond Star Motors Corp., a factory jointly established by Mitsubishi and Chrysler in Bloomington, Ill., also is exported to Japan , Mitsubishi spokesman Junzo Ishino said.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said it had asked Japanese auto makers not to export too many cars to EC nations.

The latest request followed a 7.5 percent increase in Japanese motor vehicle shipments to the EC in January, compared with the previous January, MITI said. It said the shipments totaled 151,029 vehicles, including 138,172 passenger cars, up 13 percent from January, 1990.

Honda’s Inoue said the U.S.-manufactured cars were being shipped to EC nations because of demand for such cars there, and not to evade criticism of too many exports from Japan.

Makoto Iida of Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest car maker, said MITI recently asked the company to export ″more moderately than before″ to the EC, and the company agreed.

In 1986, Japan began a monitoring system for car exports to the EC under which the government extends ″guidance″ to companies deemed to be exporting too many cars.

Honda now is building its first auto factory in Britain to start manufacturing passenger cars in late 1992, Inoue said. Mitsubishi has no factory in Europe.

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