TOKYO -- Japan's auto industry is relying more and more on exports to the United States.
As domestic sales fell, rising exports fueled an increase in production in the April-June quarter.
Exports to the United States rose at double the pace of overall exports during the quarter. The United States accounts for a growing share of Japan's exports. It also takes a growing share of Japan's total production.
Total exports rose 15.5 percent to 1,440,499 units during the quarter. U.S.-bound shipments jumped 33.7 percent to 545,556 vehicles. For the entire first half, exports to the United States surged 31.4 percent to 1,056,997 cars and trucks.
Shipments to the United States accounted for 37.9 percent of all Japanese exports in the second quarter. That is up 5 percentage points, from 32.7 percent a year earlier.
Through June, Japan's exports have risen for 11 straight months. Exports to North America have risen 17 straight months.
Exports to Canada also rose at an above-average rate of 28.8 percent in the second quarter to 67,178 units. Over the first six months, exports to Canada rose 25.7 percent to 127,683 units.
Exports to Europe rose 8.5 percent in the second quarter to 300,422. Shipments to the European Union edged up 0.8 percent to 217,472 units.
Russia up 56%
Exports to non-EU countries rose faster than those to EU nations, although their total volume was smaller. For example, shipments to Russia surged 55.6 percent in the quarter to 51,540 units. That topped Japan's exports to the United Kingdom and Germany.
Shipments to the United Kingdom fell 20.7 percent to 45,760. Those to Germany rose 8.3 percent to 41,839.
Total exports were held back by falling shipments to Japan's backyard markets in Asia. Exports to Asia fell 10.4 percent to 100,433. Shipments to such key markets as China, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia fell.
At 116,391, exports to Oceania were greater than those to Asia. Exports to the Mideast were even larger at 124,720. Combined exports to Asia, Oceania, and the Mideast, plus Central and South America and Canada, were still less than exports to the United States.
More than half, 52.6 percent, of Japanese vehicle production in the second quarter was exported. That was up from 47.8 percent a year earlier. Industry output rose 5.0 percent in the second quarter to 2,738,969 units. Japan's vehicle production has risen every month this year.
As previously reported, domestic sales dropped 3.1 percent in the quarter to 1,304,086.
Production rose at every carmaker except Nissan Motor Co. Nissan's output fell 22.4 percent to 277,637 on soft sales at home and abroad. Nissan was the only major Japanese carmaker to report a drop in North America-bound exports. Those shipments fell 16.3 percent to 48,822.
In contrast, Toyota Motor Corp.'s North America-bound exports jumped 67.6 percent to 402,389. Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles accounted for roughly two of every three cars and trucks Japan shipped to North America in the April-June quarter.
You may e-mail James B. Treece at [email protected]