TOKYO - Powered by a 26.0 percent surge in shipments to the United States, Japan's vehicle exports in September rose for the first time in eight months.
Bolstered by those increased exports, vehicle production in September rose 10.7 percent to 933,521, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said. It was the first time since June 1997 that monthly production rose 10 percent over the previous year.
Japan's September exports rose 4.3 percent,to 439,315, JAMA said.
Shipments to the United States climbed 26.0 percent, to 152,385. The U.S. market thus took more than one-third of all of Japan's car and truck exports in September.
Exports to a few other key markets also rose. Japan's vehicle shipments to Asia climbed 17.4 percent as recovering Southeast Asian markets more than offset a slowdown in exports to China. Exports to Oceania jumped 24.0 percent.
While shipments to the European Union went up 3.8 percent, total exports to Europe slipped 3.1 percent, to 111,759. Some of the drop was due to the earthquake in Turkey, which led to a 53.4 percent fall in exports to that country, to 4,379.
Besides the export push, production benefited from the continued popularity in Japan of mini vehicles - cars and trucks with engines smaller than 660cc.
Mini-vehicle specialists Suzuki Motor Co. and Daihatsu Motor Co. each built more than twice as many vehicles in September as they did in September 1998.