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Japanese motoring industry slumps

With carmakers Toyota and Honda seen as the leaders of green car production you might think that Japan's motoring industry is immune from the recent economic crisis - however, new figures suggest differently.

Just days after we reported that Japan's motoring industry had forecasted a decline, new figures have been released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) showing that total production of cars, trucks and buses in the country for domestic sales as well as export dropped by 20.4 per cent in November year-on-year.

This was the second consecutive month of year-on-year production decreases and the largest monthly on-year decline since JAMA began compiling data back in 1967. Vehicle exports in November 2008 were just 491,990 units - that's down 18.1 per cent compared with units recorded in the same month of the previous year.

Standard cars with a displacement greater than 2.0 litres suffered the sharpest production drop - slumping 34.1 per cent year-on-year. By contrast, standard cars showed a 26.3 per cent drop in exports.

However, compared to the rest of the flagging motoring industry the overall news for Japan is still comparatively good. For the period stretching from January-November 2008, production is still up two per cent compared to the previous year and exports are still 6.6 per cent higher.

In terms of the individual car manufacturers, Toyota reported a 27.7 per cent drop in production year-on-year in November; Nissan said production slumped by 35.6 per cent; Daihatsu saw production drop by 3.6 per cent; Mitsubishi production fell by 26.6 per cent; Suzuki saw production drop by 7.3 per cent; and Hino saw production drop 25 per cent. Only Honda escaped relatively unscathed with a production drop of 3.9 per cent.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Mitsubishi, Honda, Toyota

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