Japan automakers’ August global output down 12% but recovery seen

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Total global output by eight major Japanese automakers fell 12.1 percent in August from a year earlier to 1.87 million units, hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, but the pace of decline slowed as production in China recovered, data showed Tuesday.

The decline compared with a 14.1 percent drop in July. Toyota Motor Corp registered a smaller year-on-year fall than the previous month, while Suzuki Motor Corp reported the first rise in eight months.

Toyota produced 634,217 vehicles, down 6.7 percent. Despite August marking the eighth straight month of decline, the fall was smaller than the 10.2 percent drop in July, as Japan’s largest automaker ramped up production in China and other overseas markets. Production in Japan totaled 202,691 vehicles, down 11.5 percent, according to Toyota.

Suzuki’s global output totaled 209,792 units, up 1.3 percent, helped by an 11.1 percent expansion in India.

Honda Motor Co’s output fell 6.4 percent to 389,481 vehicles. But in China, Honda marked its highest production for the month of August.

Nissan Motor Co built 304,739 vehicles, down 25.1 percent.

After taking a hit earlier this year from the novel coronavirus pandemic, economic activity has gradually resumed, with governments around the world seeking to keep the spread of the virus in check. The death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, has topped 1 million globally, with over 33 million infections confirmed, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

Toyota’s global sales decreased 10.6 percent to 720,765 vehicles, falling for the eighth straight month, with solid demand in China offset by weakness in Japan and North America.

Weak sales in North America, especially in the United States, pushed Nissan’s global sales down 23.3 percent to 327,297 vehicles.

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