Japan's Car Industry Climbs Out Of The Hole

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japan s car industry climbs out of the hole

The Japanese car industry is slowly but surely producing and exporting itself out of the huge hole caused by the March 11 tsunami. The Japanese domestic market remains where it was before the catastrophe: In the dumps. This is the bottom line of August production, export and domestic sales data released today by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Japanese production, exports and sales, August 2011

ManufacturerUnits producedChange YoYUnits exportedChange YoYUnits sold JPChange YoYTOYOTA252,37411.9%137,97719.8%98,376-24.4%NISSAN89,262-2.5%57,84834.1%44,537-19.2%MAZDA68,4495.6%58,47521.3%15,650-40.7%MITSUBISHI40,431-19.2%30,916-19.4%9,655-37.6%ISUZU13,456-11.9%9,772-16.0%5,10924.8%DAIHATSU49,0859.1%2,442-24.1%41,578-11.1%HONDA56,356-17.2%17,154-37.8%34,270-47.3%SUBARU28,665-14.2%18,310-5.6%10,972-22.0%UD TRUCKS1,970-16.9%1,141-8.2%8993.1%HINO9,69437.1%5,83114.4%4,06182.3%SUZUKI86,2155.9%20,002-2.0%43,118-6.0%MITSUBISHI FUSO7,94715.6%3,904-12.3%2,60915.3%LEXUS3,97767.2%Others19240.1%15,0274.3%TOTAL704,0961.8%363,7727.6%329,838-22.4%

For the first time in 11 months, Japan saw its domestic production rise by a modest 1.8 percent, but a rise is a rise. The rise goes mostly on account of Toyota and its Daihatsu and Hino divisions. All were up solidly. Production of Honda still has not quite recovered.

August exports of the Japanese car industry were 7.6 percent above August 2010. Again, Toyota carried most of the weight here, followed by Mazda and Nissan.

Sales in Japan are a completely different animal. They are grim. Trucks are up. Japan still needs a lot of them. The “others” column under sales refers to imports. They are up, too. September sales should be here by Monday.

From what I am hearing from Japan’s majors, the big turnaround in production and exports will gather steam in the last quarter 2011 and Q1 2012, with commensurate rises in exports. But will they make money? The dollar still fetches only 76 yen, and at that rate, nearly every car exported from Japan is exported at a loss.

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  • Alluster Alluster on Sep 30, 2011

    Good to see most Japanese automakers get their production to pre quake levels, esp. Toyota even though they are exporting more cars at what could be the worst time ever. For Aug, the Yen was at the highest monthly average since World war 2. Toyota had two options, increase manufacturing and export vehicles at a huge loss or risk losing market share overseas.

  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉