Japan’s April auto output soars in year after quake

May 28, 2012
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Total Japanese domestic production of cars, trucks and buses plunged 60.1 percent year-on-year in April/AFP
TOKYO, May 28 – Japan’s major automakers on Monday reported huge production increases for April, as the hard-hit sector recovers from the devastating impact of last year’s quake-tsunami.

Heavyweights Toyota, Nissan, and Honda saw huge jumps in output from the same month a year earlier when they slashed production and shuttered plants due to power shortages and a parts supply crunch after the disaster.

Toyota, the nation’s biggest automaker, said output at its factories in Japan surged more than three-fold to 352,973 vehicles last month, while overseas production rose 64.8 percent in the period to 439,988.

Honda Motor said its production at home skyrocketed 514.4 percent to 87,049 vehicles, while foreign output climbed by 112.5 percent to 264,614.

Nissan’s production, meanwhile, jumped 94.0 percent to 85,734 at home, while overseas production rose 39.2 percent to 283,788.

Japan’s auto sector suffered one of its worst months on record in April last year, while flooding in Thailand later in the year added to the pain as Japanese manufacturers with plants in the country saw their supply chains hammered.

Most automakers returned production to pre-quake levels by the end of 2011.

The yen also hit a record high against the dollar last year, hurting exporters whose products become more expensive overseas when the currency strengthens.

The latest production figures come less than a week after data showed Toyota regained its position as the world’s number one automaker in the first quarter of 2012, stealing back the lead from US giant General Motors.

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