TOKYO - Japan's vehicle exports fell in October for the second straight month, dragged down by lower Europe-bound shipments because of a shift of production to that region and the strengthening of the yen against the euro.
In addition, U.S.-bound exports fell 5.5 percent in October, in another sign of the slowing U.S. auto market. It was the second drop in a row and only the third month in the past 26 in which shipments to the United States had slipped.
Total exports fell 6.3 percent in the month from a year earlier to 360,954 units, weighed down by a 20 percent drop in exports to the European Union. Three straight months of falling exports to the EU pushed exports to that market down 7.7 percent for the year to date from the same period of 1999.
Some Japanese automakers accelerated the shift of their production to Europe from Japan partly to reduce their currency losses. A stronger yen leads them to book fewer yen for every dollar or euro they earn on sales overseas. The currency problem also hurt their sales in Europe.
At Honda Motor Co., Europe-bound exports slid 63.2 percent in October from a year earlier, slowing the company's total exports 21.9 percent. Honda attributed the plunge mainly to a shift of production of its CR-V sport-utility to England from Japan.
Nissan Motor Co.'s shipments to Europe also tumbled 28.6 percent, weighing down its total exports 6.0 percent, as it also shifted output of its Almera to England from Japan.
Japan's total production increased 2.2 percent to 864,937 units in October, pushing the country's entire production up 2.7 percent for the year to date to 8,472,220.