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November 28, 2009

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Honda sets recovery for Japan car makers

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 auto makers.

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

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

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

Global output for Toyota Motor Corp, the world's biggest auto maker, stayed flat at 785,615 vehicles in October, down 0.8 percent annually.

But global production for Nissan Motor Co, the nation's No. 3 auto maker, 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, rose across the board, led by a 63.1-percent surge in China. Nissan's production in the United States rose 10.3 percent and 12.6 percent in Britain.

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

Except for Mitsubishi, which lost 12.5 percent in Japan vehicle sales last month, major Japanese auto makers rose backed by tax breaks and incentives for green and fuel efficient vehicles.


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