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September 29, 2009

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Japanese car makers have some good news

THE slump in Japan's global auto production eased in August as a record month in China for Toyota, Honda and Nissan offset dire market conditions elsewhere.

Toyota Motor Corp, the world's top auto maker, partly credited a boost in production in Asia for its first year-on-year overseas production rise in 13 months last month. Production of 309,589 vehicles was up 4.7 percent from the same month the previous year. It also got a boost from a cash-for-clunkers program in the United States.

Toyota's global production - which includes production in Japan - remained sluggish at 508,673 vehicles, down 8.7 percent from a year earlier.

But the percentage drops have been growing smaller, easing in the latest month from previous double-digit falls.

Toyota's China production was a record high for August at 58,592 vehicles, up 53.4 percent from the same month the previous year.

Honda Motor Co also racked up record production in China, although worldwide production for Japan's No. 2 auto maker declined year-on-year for the 10th straight month.

Tokyo-based Honda's worldwide production totaled 246,403 vehicles in August, down 16.6 percent from the same month a year ago. Honda's production in Japan plunged 36.8 percent, and exports from Japan plummeted 60.7 percent.

Nissan Motor Co, allied with Renault SA of France, was another auto maker with record production in China for August, at 44,441 vehicles, surging 60.1 percent. Nissan's global production sank 13.7 percent from a year earlier to 217,954 vehicles.

Globally, Mazda Motor Corp produced 84,823 vehicles in August, down 12.8 percent. Mitsubishi Motors Corp produced 62,924 vehicles, down 32.1 percent.


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