NEW YORK -- The head of General Motors said the yen needs to strengthen to 90 to the dollar if U.S.
automakers are to compete better with their rivals in Japan, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The dollar fell below 102 yen to its lowest against the Japanese currency in nearly five years on Thursday, as the market tested how far Japan was willing to tolerate the impact of dollar weakness and yen strength.
The weak dollar increases the value of international sales for U.S. companies. It also makes Japanese exports more expensive for U.S. consumers vs. products made in the United States and cuts into U.S. profits converted into the yen.
Rick Wagoner, GM's CEO, said he believed 90 yen to the dollar was the "right" level for the exchange rate, adding that a further climb in the yen's value "would help level the playing field" in GM's competition with Toyota Motor Corp. and other Japanese companies, the newspaper said.
The yen has not been that strong since 1995.
GM and Ford Motor Co. both said on Wednesday they would cut production more than expected after weak U.S. sales in November, a move that analysts said could hurt profits.
In contrast, many of the larger foreign automakers such as Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. reported stronger sales for the month.