Auto output takes 25.3% plunge

Kyodo News

Output of cars, trucks and buses in Japan plunged 25.2 percent to 725,552 units in December in the largest year-on-year decline since 1967, when comparable data first became available, an industry body said Friday.

Exports by Japan’s 12 automakers meanwhile slipped 33.6 percent to 422,077 units in the reporting month, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

The sharp drop in production and exports is being caused by a sudden industrywide downshift to reduce output in the face of a domestic recession and slumping sales worldwide amid the global economic downturn.

The drop in auto output is the third in as many months. Annual production of cars, trucks and buses in Japan dipped 0.3 percent in 2008 to 11,563,629 units, down for the first time in seven years, the association said.

Exports of vehicles last year gained 2.7 percent to 6,727,091 units, up for the seventh straight year, on the back of robust exports to emerging economies in the first half of 2008, it said.