April Japanese Automaking Surges with $13 Billion in Exports

Japanese automaking completed its recovery from the natural disasters of last year that interrupted production by building almost 800,000 vehicles in April 2012, many of them for export. This compares to 292,044 units for April of 2011 – one month after the tragic March earthquake and Tsunami – for an increase of 507,430 units or 173.8%. April also marked the seventh consecutive monthly production increase year-over-year. Leading the way was Toyota, which boosted output more than five times at 276,000 vehicles.

The strong recovery is bad news for the Detroit Three since many of the vehicles will be shipped to North America, by far the largest export market for Japanese automakers. More than 157,000 vehicles were shipped to North America, with 140,000 of those sent the United States, where the new vehicle market is slowly growing once again.

Total exports from Japan in April were 402,389 units, compared with 126,061 for the same month of the previous year or an increase of 276,328 units or 219.2%. This meant that exports have now increased y-o-y for four consecutive months.

The recovery is good news for shareholders of Japanese auto companies, which continue to struggle with a strong Yen thereby hurting margins. Increased volumes, along with intense cost cutting efforts are improving profits. The total value of automobiles exported for April 2012 was $13.6 billion including $9.8 billion for vehicles and $3.8 billion for parts. This is an increase of $7.7 billion or 130% as compared with $5.9 billion recorded for the same month of the previous year.

Japanese Automobile Production

Automobile

April 2012

Units

 (%)

Toyota

275,761

512.3

Nissan

85,734

194.0

Mitsubishi

39,056

142.1

Mitsubishi Fuso

7,733

481.5

Mazda

65,484

185.4

Isuzu

19,513

407.0

Honda

87,049

614.4

Hino

12,373

250.5

Suzuki

93,668

160.4

Daihatsu

64,839

315.1

Subaru

46,003

181.2

UD Trucks

2,053

167.5

Others

208

156.4

Total

799,474

273.8

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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