Japan output falls again in July

Where they went
Changes in export destinations for Japan's top 5 automakers, in percent
  N. America Europe Total
Toyota 14.20% -22.60% -5.20%
Nissan -26 -18.6 -17.4
Honda 2.8 2 -2.5
Mazda 82.2 -52.2 19.6
Mitsubishi 28.9 -54.1 -17.1
Source: Company data

TOKYO - Japan's vehicle production in July declined for the seventh consecutive month as the country's weaker exports more than offset stronger demand at home.

Output for the month dipped 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 883,962, dragged down by a 6.3 percent drop in exports, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Japan's July sales, as reported earlier, rose 3.3 percent. While car production changed little, truck output fell 7 percent from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive month of decline.

Production increased 3.7 percent at Toyota Motor Corp., 2.4 percent at Mazda Motor Corp., and 11.9 percent at Honda Motor Co. Ltd. But Mitsubishi Motors Corp. slashed output by 22.8 percent and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. cut production by 6.9 percent. July's drop in exports, reflecting anemic European and Asian demand, was the seventh straight. Overall shipments fell to 370,663 from 395,398 while Europe-bound exports tumbled 29.3 percent to 77,158.

Four of the top five Japanese automakers reported lower exports in the month; the exception, Mazda, posted a 19.6 percent increase.

The transfer of production from Japan has contributed to weaker Japanese exports to Europe. Nissan, for example, attributed its 18.6 percent drop in exports to that area partly to a shift of production of the Almera to its plant in the United Kingdom in March.

Toyota cited the start of Yaris output in France in January as one reason for the 22.6 percent plunge in its exports to Europe.

On the other hand, exports to the United States showed the first rise in four months thanks to the debut of new or fully redesigned models.

Mazda's North America-bound shipments, for example, jumped 82.2 percent as the company introduced a Protege wagon in June.

Mitsubishi's exports to the North American market also surged 28.9 percent, benefiting from shipment of a fully redesigned Lancer sedan, starting in August.

Four of the five major Japanese automakers - the exception being Nissan - increased their exports to North America. Nissan said its North America-bound exports fell 26 percent.

Asian markets remained sour. Japan's exports to that region tumbled 25.5 percent for the second straight month of contraction.

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