TOKYO - Two Japanese carmakers, faced with strong demand for the new generation of bigger, safer minivehicles, are boosting production and considering delays in planned exports to Europe.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. said its contract assembler, Yachiyo Industry Co., will add production of the Life minicar to its current output of the Honda Z mini. Yachiyo will build an additional 1,610 Lifes in December and 3,210 in January, a Honda spokesman said.
Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd., 51 percent owned by Toyota Motor Corp., also will add output to keep up with demand for its Move mini, said spokesman Shozo Shimizu. The company also temporarily may withhold exports to Europe.
Daihatsu took orders for about 20,000 Moves in both October and November and delivered 16,590 in November.
Shimizu emphasized that current production probably is sufficient to meet the low volumes planned for export, 1,000 a month, even with strong demand at home. Still, if local demand continues to surge, Daihatsu may delay the European launch until March.
Daihatsu's Shiga plant has capacity to build 17,000 Moves a month. To meet demand, that has been raised to 20,000 by adding four days of overtime a month. If even that proves insufficient, Move production could be added to the Ikeda plant as well, Shimizu said.