Japan's 2009 auto output falls below 8 million, first time in 33 yrs

Domestic production of cars, trucks and buses plummeted 31.5 per cent from the year before to 7,934,516 units, posting the sharpest rate of decline since 1966 when relevant statistics became available, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday.

The output figure marked the second consecutive annual decline and is more than 40 per cent lower than 1990, when production peaked at 13.49 million units.
As a result, China, which turned out around 13.79 million automobiles, displaced Japan from the top spot in output rankings.
Passenger car output plunged 30.9 per cent to 6,862,161 units and that of trucks tumbled 34.7 per cent to 985,100 units, both registering the steepest falls ever. Truck production hit an all-time low.

Output of passenger cars fell for the second consecutive year and truck production for the sixth straight year.
Bus production came to 87,255 units, down 37.3 per cent, marking the first fall in five years.

Production began to pick up in the second half of last year thanks in part to a tax benefit for buyers of eco-friendly cars, the association said.
In December alone, overall auto production rose 8.6 per cent from a year earlier to 788,067 units, increasing for the second straight month.

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