Automobile production by major Japanese makers in China plunged in January from a year earlier, data from the companies showed Thursday.

The gloomy results reflected fewer factory operating days because this year’s Lunar New Year holiday period started in late January, some 10 days earlier than in the previous year.

With the spread of the novel coronavirus, which originated in China, affecting operations in the country, Japanese automakers are expected to see even sharper year-on-year drops in production there in February.

Nissan Motor Co.’s vehicle production in China in January fell 24.7 percent to 103,627 units. Output dropped by 20.2 percent to 106,745 units at Honda Motor Co. and by 12.6 percent to 107,284 units at Toyota Motor Corp.

Automobile sales in China also slumped at Toyota, Nissan, Subaru Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Meanwhile, Honda logged a 9.8 percent rise thanks to brisk demand for the Civic car.

Automobile production in Japan by eight major Japanese makers sagged 3.2 percent in January to 726,321 units, down for the fourth consecutive month, reflecting a fall in demand partly blamed on the consumption tax hike from 8 percent to 10 percent in October last year.

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