• Kyodo

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Vehicle production in Japan fell 5.3 percent in February from a year earlier to 817,390 units, down for the eighth straight month, as demand shrank following a consumption tax hike last year, an industry body said Tuesday.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said the output of passenger vehicles slid 6.7 percent to 692,071 units, down for the eighth consecutive month, while bus production dropped for the second straight month, by 4.3 percent to 11,512 units.

Truck production rose 3.4 percent to 113,807 units, up for the first time in four months, the association said.

Domestic demand plunged 14.7 percent to 482,103 units, still affected by the 3-percentage-point tax hike to 8 percent on April 1 of last year, making automakers shy away from boosting production, an official said.

Exports edged down 0.3 percent to 365,855 units, down for the first time in three months, although overall exports have been riding high in recent months on the back of the yen’s depreciation and U.S. economic recovery.

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