Auto production in Japan topped 10 million vehicles in fiscal 2000 for the first time in three years, helped by favorable sales at home and overseas, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said Wednesday.

Japanese automakers manufactured 10,044,293 cars, trucks and buses in the year, up 1.2 percent from the previous year and the first rise in three years, JAMA said.

“While domestic sales have been favorable since October due to introductions of new models by carmakers, exports were also strong in the fiscal first half, helped by the healthy economy in the United States,” JAMA said.

The recent deceleration of the U.S. economy has damaged exports from Japan, but the official said he expects the economy to turn around in the latter half of fiscal 2001, boosted by large-scale tax breaks planned by the administration of President George W. Bush.

On the domestic front, the official said the government’s stimulus measures will soon bring about positive effects, and that he expects overall auto production to remain steady for the time being.

In fiscal 2000, production of passenger cars rose 1.8 percent to 8,297,117 vehicles, with output of cars with engines with displacement of more than 2000cc up 3.9 percent to 3,353,591.

Toyota Motor Corp. was the biggest producer at 3,422,314 vehicles, up 6.5 percent from the previous fiscal year, followed by Nissan Motor Co. with 1,313,527 vehicles, down 1.7 percent.

Honda Motor Co. ranked third at 1,234,101 vehicles, up 1.6 percent, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp., ranked fourth with 960,014 vehicles, down 4.2 percent. Suzuki Motor Corp. came fifth at 920,135 vehicles, up 1.7 percent.

In March, the last month of the fiscal year, auto production declined 5.8 percent from a year earlier to 960,260 vehicles, down for the third-straight month.

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