Total domestic automobile production in 1998 dropped 8.4 percent to 10,049,792 units from the previous year, the first decline in three years, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said Thursday.

Output barely exceeded the 10 million-unit level, which automakers say is a psychologically important line in deciding whether to reduce the domestic workforce. The figure, however, was the lowest level since 1979, which marked 9.6 million units, according to the association.

In 1998, all categories other than minicars saw declines from the previous year. Passenger cars declined 5.1 percent to 8.5 million units, trucks fell 20 percent to 1,937,076 units, and buses decreased 8.5 percent to 56,953 units, the association said.

Coronavirus banner