TOKYO - Japan's vehicle production dropped for the fourth straight month in July, as both exports and home-market sales fell.
Output dropped to 887,288, down 3.6 percent from July 1998, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said. It was the first time since 1995 that output in the month of July slipped below 900,000.
Exports declined 7.9 percent to 371,831, marking the sixth straight drop.
As reported, July vehicle sales in the home market of Japan fell 3.1 percent to 538,951.
Exports to the United States, Asia and Canada rose in July.
As Asia continues its economic rebound, shipments headed to Asia increased for the fourth straight month. In particular, exports to Malaysia, the strongest market in Southeast Asia, as well as to Thailand and the Philippines, rose. Exports to China tumbled 61 percent to 2,890, however.
A 12,417-unit drop in exports to South America alone erased the absolute rise in exports to the United States and Canada. Shipments to the Mideast and Europe also declined at a double-digit pace.
Exports fell for every Japanese automaker.
On the production side, strong home-market sales of minivehicles, those with engines smaller than 660cc, pushed output higher at Suzuki Motor Co., Daihatsu Motor Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and, fractionally, Honda Motor Co.
Output also rose at truckmaker Hino Motors Ltd., on orders from its part owner, Toyota Motor Corp.