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Slump forces Toyota to cut global output

TOYOTA Motor Corp, Japan's biggest auto maker, slashed global production last month by the most in more than two decades as the recession and a credit crunch decimate demand for new automobiles.

Toyota's output fell 43 percent to 413,285 vehicles in January. Honda Motor Co's production dropped 33 percent to 226,551 vehicles and Nissan Motor Co's slid 54 percent to 145,286 units, the companies said separately yesterday.

Japanese car makers are cutting output and earnings forecasts as slowing economies and rising unemployment in their largest markets deter consumers from buying new vehicles. Toyota's domestic output is being reduced by half this quarter, compared with a year earlier, as exports plunge and it heads for its first operating loss in 71 years, Bloomberg News said.

"Things will get worse before they get better." said Ed Rogers, chief executive officer of Tokyo-based hedge fund adviser Rogers Investment Advisors Y.K. "Nobody is buying cars - there is a global freeze of commerce."

Toyota, which tripled its loss forecast earlier this month, said Japan production fell 40 percent to 209,224 and United States production fell 65 percent to 38,245 units. Exports to the US plunged 80 percent.

Overall Japanese exports plunged 46 percent in January, resulting in a record trade deficit, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. Vehicle sales in the country fell the most in 35 years last month. US industrywide auto sales may hit a 27-year low of 10.5 million units this year, according to General Motors Corp.


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