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Japan's car makers rev up to face US competition

They are revamping lineups with greater focus on trucks and SUVs as American car sales are set to boom

Chicago

WITH car sales booming and the spring sales season about to get underway, Japanese and Korean carmakers are feeling the pressure from their resurgent American competitors.

But the Japanese carmakers, counting on the American market for profits, insist they welcome the competition and that opportunities abound.

But the Americans are also benefiting from the recalls and quality problems of Japanese manufacturers, which are confronting the relatively weak lineup of trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Industry sales figures have shown that truck and utility vehicles account for more than half, 54 per cent in January alone, of all vehicles sold in the United States.

Toyota is replacing its new mid-sized...

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