TOKYO -- Japan's new-vehicle exports in 2005 rose to a 12-year high, led by shipments to the United States.
Analysts predict more of the same in 2006.
The export gains pushed production levels in Japan higher despite flat local sales.
In 2005, Japanese exports rose 1.9 percent to 5,053,061 vehicles. Japanese car and truck production rose 2.7 percent to 10,799,659. Both output and exports rose for the fourth straight year.
Domestic Japanese sales edged up 0.1 percent in 2005 to 5,843,322.
It was the first time exports topped 5 million since 1993.
Exports to the United States rose 6.6 percent in 2005, to 1,662,939. In other words, one in three cars and trucks exported from Japan went to the United States. Toyota Motor Corp. shipped about half of all vehicles sent to the United States, and 40 percent of all Japanese exports to all markets.
Toyota's exports rose 4.7 percent to 2,043,245. Mazda Motor Corp. exported 609,047 vehicles, up 5.7 percent.
Two major makers exported fewer cars in 2005. Nissan Motor Co.'s exports fell 7.1 percent to 677,496. Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s exports dropped 2.9 percent to 352,547.
Japanese exporters also posted sharp gains in shipments to other markets in the Americas.
Exports to Central America jumped 18.6 percent to 221,732. Shipments to South America climbed 21.3 percent to 191,527.
Meanwhile, exports to Europe fell 7.6 percent to 1,178,197. Exports to other Asian markets dropped 17.8 percent to 420,067. The Asian decline was caused by a 49.3 percent plunge in shipments to China, to 62,151.
UBS Securities analyst Takaki Nakanishi predicts production levels in Japan will climb steadily from January 2006 through March 2008.
You may e-mail James B. Treece at [email protected]