TOKYO — Japanese automakers kept exports humming in high gear during the third quarter despite falling shipments to North America.
Rising exports to Russia, China and the Middle East picked up the slack and helped boost overall exports by 7.2 percent.
Exports to North America dropped 5.6 percent to 595,968 vehicles in the July-September period. The decline was triggered by a 6.4 percent slide in exports to the United States, to 540,711 units, as jitters about subprime loan problems hurt sales.
The fall followed an 8 percent drop in exports to North America in the second quarter. That was the first quarterly export decline to North America since October-December 2004.
Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. had shipments to North America fall in the third quarter. Toyota's sank 15 percent to 290,370 vehicles. Mazda's slid 14 percent to 67,787.
Mitsubishi, meanwhile, tumbled 38 percent to 9,856 vehicles.