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Sluggish sales nudge Japan output down in October

Shifting targets
Japan’s exports in October for selected companies and destinations, shown as percentage change from a year earlier.
  North America Europe Total
Toyota 20.2 3.5 10.2
Nissan 20.1 -43.2 11.3
Honda 24.5 -30.9 7.2
Mazda 91.1 -22.7 10
Mitsubishi 46.1 -70.8 -18.2
Source: Company data

TOKYO - Japan's vehicle production in October shrank 0.8 percent from a year earlier as sluggish sales at home more than outweighed stronger exports.

The decline, to 857,508, was the second in a row.

Sales fell 3.1 percent. Exports, reflecting brisk U.S. demand, gained 4.4 percent.

Among major makers, production expanded 8.2 percent at Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and 13.6 percent at Nissan Motor Co.

But Toyota Motor Corp. trimmed its output by 4.2 percent; Mazda Motor Corp. by 4.7 percent; and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., by 0.7 percent,

Exports rose to 377,157 in October, led by a 21.5 percent surge in U.S.-bound shipments. The increase in U.S. shipments, the fourth straight, reflected demand for several new models.

Toyota's exports to North America, for example, shot up 20.2 percent partly on strong sales of a new version of the Lexus ES300.

Honda's North America-bound shipments also surged 24.5 percent ahead of the debut of a new version of the CR-V sport-utility in mid-November.

Because the impact of 0 percent financing campaigns, which trimmed dealer inventories in the United States, was not reflected in October shipments, exports in future months are likely to continue their upward trend.

In contrast, four of Japan's Big 5's exports to Europe tumbled. Japan's exports to the European Union have fallen for 15 consecutive months, with a 12.5 percent decline in October.

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