GM's Wagoner Says Japanese Yen Artificially Weak

General Motor's CEO Rick Wagoner accused the Japanese government on June 6 of artificially weakening its currency to blunt competition from U.S. auto-makers. Talking to shareholders at GM's annual meeting, Wagoner said that Japanese car-makers were "formidable competitors." However, the GM chief said that when delegates at a recent G-7 meeting endorsed free trading in currency markets, the yen began to strengthen.

Wagoner said that a representative of the Bank of Japan appeared to contradict that sentiment after the meeting, causing the yen to weaken. "We were not pleased," Wagoner said, claiming that the Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group also shared GM's belief on the Japanese currency.

"The most important thing in competition ... (the) pricing mechanism, is not being handled on a free market basis by the second-largest economy in the world," Wagoner said.

Some shareholders at the meeting asked Wagoner if a merger with Toyota was on the horizon. "We have no plan, we haven't talked to anyone and I suspect it will not happen," Wagoner told shareholders.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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