Japans Auto Output Down Slightly In February, Will Be Sliced In Half In March

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japans auto output down slightly in february will be sliced in half in march

Vehicle output of Japan, the world’s second largest car producing nation, was down across the board in February. The reductions reported today by Japan’s majors pale in comparison to the dramatic losses that will be announced for March, and quite possibly for months to come.

  • Toyota’s Japanese output was down 8.5 percent in February on a brand level. Across all TMC brands (Toyota, Daihatsu, Hino), output was 7.4 percent lower than in February 2010.
  • Nissan’s February Japan output is down 3.8 percent on the year, reports The Nikkei [sub].
  • Honda’s output in Japan was down 15.6 percent in February, says The Nikkei [sub].

These numbers reflect the decrease in domestic sales in Japan. The market had been down 14.3 percent excluding minivehicles, and down 12.4 percent including minivehicles. Honda’s production numbers were helped by strong exports. Exports rose 47.6 percent driven by strong sales of SUVs in the U.S. Toyota’s exports were down 8.1 percent for the brand and 5.3 percent for the group.

When Japanese March production numbers will be announced one month from now, they will be horrendous. For all intents and purposes, car production ceased in Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The world’s second largest car producing nation already is missing half a month of production. Honda said the March 11 earthquake caused domestic production to fall by more than 40,000 units. That is 57 percent below February.

“Total Japan output impact could reach a reduction in output of 450,000 vehicles by the end of March,” Michael Robinet, a director at IHS Automotive, told The Nikkei [sub]. Total production in Japan (all automobiles) in March 2010 stood at 945,271.

Output in March 2011 is expected to be half of this. Depending on how quickly Japanese car production will get back on its feet (and it does not look good at the moment), April could be worse.

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