Auto output up 14.5 % in January

Kyodo

Production in Japan of automobiles rose 14.5 percent in January from a year earlier to 860,803 units for the fifth straight monthly increase, due to strong demand ahead of the consumption tax hike in April as well as the positive effects of newly introduced vehicles, an industry body said Friday.

Car production grew 15.3 percent to 737,976 vehicles and truck output climbed 9.8 percent to 110,275 units, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said. Bus production went up 14.7 percent to 12,552 units.

Meanwhile, vehicle exports in January fell 4.9 percent to 326,696 units as carmakers shifted their production overseas, JAMA said.

Car exports dropped 5.2 percent to 285,812 units and truck exports sagged 5.5 percent to 30,000 units. Those of buses went up 3.5 percent to 10,884 units.

Exports to Asia were weak in January, with those to Thailand falling to about one-third from a year before following the end in 2012 of a government incentive program for first-time car buyers and recent political unrest, the association said.