Japanese Automakers See Global Production Increase

Toyota continues to close the gap with GM for worldwide production, but domestic production dips.

TOKYO (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp. and three other Japanese automakers reported an increase in global production in April, but Mazda Motor Corp. posted a decline.

Toyota, closing in on GM's spot as the world's largest automaker, said its worldwide production totaled 667,273 vehicles in April, up 4.2 percent from the year before on strong demand for its Camry, Lexus and hybrid cars like the Prius.

Toyota's production in Japan slipped 4.2 percent to 327,552 units for a second straight monthly decline due to a sluggish market, but its overseas production jumped 13.8 percent to 339,721 vehicles.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's second-largest car maker by sales volume, said global production surged 7.6 percent to 310,391 vehicles for the 21st straight month of rise in April and a record for the month.

Domestic production rose 7.4 percent to 110,718 vehicles in April, marking a 12th consecutive month of gains, while overseas output saw a 7.7 percent rise to 199,673 vehicles due to increased production in North America and Europe and a record for an April.

At Nissan Motor Co. global production climbed 4.6 percent to 239,592 vehicles, with an increased worldwide output offsetting a decline in the smaller domestic market. Overseas production by Nissan surged 20.3 percent to 170,128 units, while domestic output dropped 20.6 percent to 69,464 units.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reported an 8.2 percent jump in global production to 104,981 vehicles. Domestic production came in at 59,422 vehicles, up 5.4 percent, for a seventh straight month of growth on year.

Overseas production grew 11.9 percent to 45,559 vehicles thanks to an increased output in Europe and the rest of Asia, although production in North America fell 15.3 percent to 5,187 units.

At Mazda Motor Corp., an affiliate of Ford Motor Co., global production fell 13.0 percent to 91,533 vehicles. Domestic production dropped 5.8 percent to 72,073 vehicles, the third straight month of decline.

Mazda's overseas output dropped 32.3 percent to 19,460 vehicles because of reduced production of models, including the Mazda6, despite steady production of the Mazda3 model, the Hiroshima-based company said.

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