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Each of Japan’s five biggest automakers said Wednesday they posted a year-on-year rise in domestic and overseas output for January due to robust overseas demand and their policy of moving factories abroad.

Honda Motor Co. set a record for January in overseas production, manufacturing 156,251 units, up 21.5 percent. Its domestic output rose 8.6 percent to 108,018.

Its global output — overseas output plus domestic production — set a record for the month at 264,269 units, up 15.9 percent from a year before.

Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. also posted increases in output.

Toyota domestically manufactured 299,356 vehicles, up 9.5 percent, marking the fifth consecutive month of year-on-year rise. Its overseas production came to 179,643 units, up 17.7 percent, for the 13th consecutive month of year-on-year increase.

Nissan’s domestic production for the month came to 116,069 units, up 21.7 percent, for the 11th consecutive month of year-on-year rise. Its overseas output stood at 111,990 units, up 2 percent.

Mitsubishi’s domestic output increased 1.6 percent to 62,584 units, due to brisk domestic sales of its Colt compact model and car shipments to North America.

Its overseas production climbed 17.3 percent to 70,758 units.

Mazda bolstered overseas production 56.1 percent to 16,563 units. Its domestic output rose 3.6 percent to 61,729.

Domestic sales skidded to 46,534 units for Honda, down 9.6 percent, and to 23,681 units for Mitsubishi, down 4.5 percent.

Toyota domestically sold 108,081 vehicles, up 2.4 percent, Nissan 52,327 units, up 7.8 percent, and Mazda 22,980, up 12.4 percent.

On the export front, all the firms except Mazda registered year-on-year growth due to strong overseas demand and a weak yen.

Toyota increased exports 23.7 percent to 160,198 vehicles, Nissan 25.2 percent to 51,190, Honda 15 percent to 41,230, and Mitsubishi 24.2 percent to 33,412. Mazda’s exports shrank 3 percent to 38,716.

Honda goes diesel

Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it has developed its first diesel engine, a 140-horsepower model.

Honda said it will exhibit automobiles featuring the 2,200cc diesel at a March motor show in Geneva.

The automaker plans to install the engine in a diesel-powered version of the Accord sedan for release on the European market in December.

Diesel-powered automobiles are popular with European drivers, partly because their carbon dioxide emissions are much lower than those of gasoline engines.

Honda has hitherto received its supply of diesel engines from Isuzu Motors Ltd. but will now use its own.

The new engine clears European Union regulations governing levels of automobile exhaust gas emissions for 2005.

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