Toyota, Nissan Japan production plunges in March

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 25 2011 02:08 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2011 10:08 PM

TOKYO - Japan's leading automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda said Monday that domestic production plummeted in March after the massive quake and tsunami, which damaged parts suppliers and nuclear power plants.

Toyota, the world's biggest auto maker, said production in Japan plunged 62.7% year-on-year in March.

Domestic output slumped to 129,491 vehicles while worldwide production fell 29.9% to 542,465 vehicles.

Production at Toyota's Daihatsu and Hino subsidiaries was also sharply lower.

The March 11 disasters damaged production facilities and atomic power plants in northeast Japan, triggering the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl and resulting in electricity shortages and disruptions to the supply chain in Japan and worldwide.

Nissan said production at home fell 52.4% year-on-year in March due to the effects of the quake and the termination of a government subsidy program for environment-friendly vehicles.

Domestic production fell to 47,590 units, in contrast to its global output which in March increased 9% year-on-year to 382,704 units. Nissan said the figure was a record for the month.

The domestic picture was similar at Honda Motor, which reported output plunged 62.9% in March while worldwide total production was down 19.2% at 282,254 units.

For the fiscal year to the end of March 2011, worldwide production was up 8.2% at 3,575,362 units compared with the previous year, Honda said.

Also on Monday, Mazda announced a 53.6% drop in domestic production in March, with global production down 33.8%.

Many key component manufacturers are based in the northeast and the shortage of parts has also hit vehicle production overseas.

With auto production stalled, demand for second-hand cars has soared in the disaster-ravaged northeast, Jiji news agency reported.

In hardest-hit Miyagi prefecture, about 150,000 vehicles, or 10% of those in the area, were damaged or destroyed leading to a boom in second-hand sales.

Prices have surged by 100,000 to 150,000 yen ($1,200-$1,800) for many models, a dealer told Jiji following the weekly used-car auction in the town of Murata.