Japan's global auto production mixed in October

AP News
Posted: Nov 27, 2009 5:39 AM

Honda Motor Co. set record production in Asia and China in October for the second straight month, leading a gradual and spotty recovery at Japanese automakers.

Honda, Japan's second biggest automaker, which has been relatively more resilient than some domestic rivals, reported Friday a 22.5 percent jump in October vehicle production in Asia at 86,070 vehicles, compared to the same month the previous year.

Worldwide production last month for the maker of the Odyssey minivan and Fit subcompact declined 18.2 percent on-year at 301,103 vehicles, Tokyo-based Honda said.

Performance was mixed at other Japanese automakers, all battered by the global financial crisis last year that sent demand plunging, especially in the key North American market.

Worldwide production for Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest automaker, stayed flat at 785,615 vehicles in October, down 0.8 percent on-year.

But global production for Nissan Motor Co., the nation's No. 3 automaker, allied with Renault SA of France, rose for the first time in 15 months, climbing 9.9 percent to 306,146 vehicles.

Production at Nissan, which makes the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, was up across the board, led by a 63.1 percent surge in China. Nissan's production in the U.S. rose 10.3 percent and 12.6 percent in Great Britain.

Hiroshima-based Mazda Motor Corp. saw October global production decline 12.1 percent to 105,953 vehicles, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reported a 29.6 percent slip to 85,080 vehicles.

Except for Mitsubishi, which posted a 12.5 percent slide in Japan vehicle sales last month, major Japanese automakers saw growth supported by tax breaks and incentives for green and fuel efficient vehicles.

Toyota's Japan sales edged up 6.7 percent in October, the third straight month of on-year improvement, as sales of Lexus luxury cars soared 63 percent from the previous year.

Honda reported a 16.6 percent year-on-year rise in October vehicle sales in Japan, for the fourth straight month of increase. Nissan recorded a 15.3 percent gain, and Mazda 6.9 percent.