WASHINGTON - Intense price competition in the United States limits options available to automakers based overseas who are being squeezed by a weaker U.S. dollar.
"We can't simply raise prices," said Tom Purves, CEO of BMW of North America LLC. "It's going to be difficult."
While some experts believe price increases on some imported vehicles are inevitable, import-brand dealers appear satisfied that fluctuating currency exchange rates are primarily something for manufacturers to manage and not a headache for retailers.
"Not yet anyhow," said Rey Reece, who has Volkswagen and Mitsubishi franchises in Portland, Ore., and who is on the board of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.
He and other AIADA members had a chance last week to hear directly from the man largely responsible for a sudden drop in the dollar's value, Treasury Secretary John Snow.