Business

Five major Japanese carmakers suffer plunge in domestic auto sales

Domestic auto sales at Japan’s five major carmakers slipped in May from a year earlier, with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. suffering the steepest drop due to a series of defect coverups and recalls, according to data released Friday.

Mitsubishi’s domestic sales of all types of vehicle plummeted 38.8 percent to 14,672 units. Car sales, excluding minicars, plunged 62.9 percent to 3,062.

But all five reported sizable export volume rises, ranging from 8.7 percent for Honda Motor Co. to 42.1 percent for Mazda Motor Corp. Even struggling Mitsubishi got a crumb of comfort, posting a 15.2 percent jump.

Japan’s biggest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., and Nissan Motor Co., the No. 2 firm, reported similar sales and export trends. Toyota’s domestic sales fell 5.7 percent to 121,481 units, while Nissan’s fell 10.3 percent to 51,527.

By contrast, exports jumped 11.2 percent to 145,937 at Toyota, and rose 12.4 percent to 56,830 at Nissan.

Domestic sales at Honda came to 50,078, off 3.2 percent, and those at Mazda stood at 19,804, down 10.5 percent.

In the previous month, Mitsubishi was the sole carmaker to suffer a double-digit percentage fall, 19 percent, with sales of 16,286 units. But the situation deteriorated as a result of the coverup scandal.

Buoyant exports at Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi came to 42,309, 48,176 and 24,487 units, respectively.

On the production front, the automakers’ overseas output climbed either mildly or steeply, while domestic output at the five slipped in tandem with their domestic sales performance at their showrooms.

Overseas output increased 12.2 percent at Toyota, 16.1 percent at Nissan, 1.9 percent at Honda, 39.5 percent at Mazda and 3.2 percent at Mitsubishi.

In sharp contrast, domestic output fell 4.2 percent at Toyota, 10.9 percent at Nissan, 2.6 percent at Honda, 0.2 percent at Mazda and 18.5 percent at Mitsubishi.

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