• Kyodo


Japan’s top six automakers, including the three biggest manufacturers, logged record production numbers in 2012 as output was hiked to meet robust demand in North America and Southeast Asia, data released Monday said.

As a whole, the eight major automakers produced 9.44 million units at home, up 18.3 percent from 2011, and 15.44 million units abroad, up 18.6 percent.

Among the top three, Toyota Motor Corp. produced 8.74 million vehicles globally, up 26.1 percent from 2011. Its North American output surged 42.7 percent to roughly 1.72 million units.

Nissan Motor Co. expanded global production by a more modest 5.5 percent to 4.89 million units, while production excluding Japan grew 6.3 percent to 3.74 million units, also a record high for a calendar year. Its North American output climbed 14.6 percent to 644,695.

Honda Motor Co.’s global output jumped 41.3 percent to 4.11 million units, as it boosted North American output amid rosy demand for its CR-V sport utility vehicles and popular Civic models.

Global production records were also set by Suzuki Motor Corp., Daihatsu Motor Co. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Output grew 6.2 percent to 2.89 million units at Suzuki, 19.9 percent to 1.19 million units at Daihatsu and 29.8 percent to 753,320 units at Fuji Heavy.

Global output at Mazda Motor Corp. rose 2.0 percent to 1.19 million units, while that at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. gained 4.2 percent to 1.11 million units.

Domestic sales meanwhile jumped 40.9 percent to 1.69 million units at Toyota and 48.0 percent to 745,165 units at Honda, supported by government subsidies for purchases of environmentally friendly vehicles. The surge marked a rebound from the 2011 slump caused by the natural disasters of March 2011.

Nissan saw an 11.6 percent rise in domestic sales, with 659,756 units, while Suzuki chalked up a 21.7 percent expansion to 673,139 units and Daihatsu logged a 23.5 percent improvement to 677,200 units. Fuji Heavy’s domestic sales climbed 12.0 percent to 177,715 units.

Domestic sales at Mazda meanwhile grew 14.9 percent to 218,359 units, while those at Mitsubishi fell 4.8 percent to 140,487 units.

The territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan but claimed also by China and Taiwan, pressured production and exports.

Of the eight automakers, six have production plants in China, with their total output there in 2012 falling 8.2 percent to 2.97 million units.

Exports climbed 24.0 percent to 1.95 million units for Toyota, but fell 5.8 percent to 674,580 units for Nissan, while Honda’s fell 8.7 percent to 214,562 units.

Exports at Suzuki dropped 21.3 percent to 196,030 units, while those at Daihatsu plunged 55.1 percent to 9,752 units, and those at Fuji Heavy added 27.0 percent to 379,356 units.

Mazda saw a 3.3 percent increase in exports to 671,790 units, but Mitsubishi suffered a 16.4 percent fall to 366,248 units.