Toyota probing Chinese charge of faulty parts

Toyota Motor Corp. said it is investigating after China said some of its models were made with broken or malfunctioning parts that caused accidents.

The Aug. 29 statement from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said malfunctioning brakes and broken drive shafts led to accidents that "caused many casualties" in the first half of the year.

The agency didn’t seek a recall and didn’t give details about the accidents it was referring to.

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Japan automakers output still a mixed bag

Japan’s automakers reported mixed vehicle production figures Monday as the industry works toward recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Some, such as Nissan, are doing considerably better than others.

Nissan Motor Co. made 419,831 vehicles worldwide in June, up 18.5 percent from the same time last year and an all-time record for a single month.

Its production in Japan rose 1.9 percent to 102,390 units thanks to strong demand for the Juke and Rogue crossovers. Global vehicle sales rose more than 13 percent in volume terms, and exports jumped 25 percent.

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Suzuki now discussing VW cooperation and even more ties

Suzuki Motor Corp., the Japanese automaker 20 percent owned by Volkswagen AG, is discussing the responsibilities of its partnership with Europe’s biggest carmaker while seeking other alliances.

Suzuki is talking with VW about "what the two companies agreed upon" rather than new projects or cars, Yasuhito Harayama, Suzuki executive vice president, told reporters Monday in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. "We can’t cooperate unless we are equal partners."

The Japanese automaker is seeking alliances after last month broadening its agreement with Fiat SpA’s Powertrain unit to supply diesel engines for the Suzuki SX4, Harayama said. Volkswagen paid $2.5 billion for the Suzuki stake in January 2010 to expand in India, where the Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. unit makes almost half the cars sold in the country.

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Nissan leading the way to recovery in Japan

Japanese automakers’ global vehicle production was weaker overall in May due to the lingering impact from the March 11 earthquake, but Nissan showed resilience with an increase in output.

Toyota Motor Corp. reported Monday that Japan production in May fell 54.4 percent to 107,437 vehicles while its global production declined 49.3 percent to 287,811 vehicles.

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Japan quake delays production of Nissan Leaf in US

Nissan Motor Co 7201.T may have to delay U.S. production of its Leaf electric car as a result of the March 11 earthquake that rocked northern Japan, an executive said on Monday.

After the earthquake, "every operation stopped," said Hideaki Watanabe, Nissan vice president for zero-emission vehicles. "All the resources were put in place to restore Japan.

"As a result, the Japanese automaker halted its efforts to plan for the U.S. production of the Leaf, he said. He declined to say how long the delay could last.

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Hollowing Out of Japan’s Auto Industry

It doesn’t take much to bring an automotive assembly line to a halt, according to John Mendel, CEO of Honda’s U.S. subsidiary, even “something as small as a speedometer needle.”

It’s a lesson the automaker has had driven home after the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, killing tens of thousands and all but shutting down the country’s auto industry for the better part of a month. Since then, shortages of various parts and components, some as small a speedometer needle, have forced a sharp cutback in production by Japanese automakers.

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EV’s prove their mettle in Disaster Struck Japan

WITH deep-tread tires and ample ground clearance, a rugged 4-wheel-drive Hummer or Jeep might seem the best choice for navigating through the wrecked cities of northeastern Japan. The areas pummeled by the earthquake and tsunami in March would surely be inhospitable for an electric vehicle.Yet in the days and weeks after the horrific one-two punch of natural disasters, wispy battery-electric cars — engineered for lightness and equipped with tires designed for minimal rolling resistance — proved their mettle.These welterweight sedans, including models from Mitsubishi and Nissan, turned out to be the vehicles that got through — not because of any special ability to claw their way over mountains of debris, but because they were able to “refuel” at common electrical outlets.

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Japan new vehicle sales fall by record 51%

Japan’s domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses logged their biggest-ever drop in April, an industry group said Monday as the March quake and tsunami hit production and supplies to dealers.

The sales came to 108,824 units in April, down 51 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

The drop, far steeper than a 37 percent fall in March, was the biggest since the data began being recorded in 1968. The previous record fall was 45.1 percent in May 1974 when Japan was reeling from the oil crisis.

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#3 Agian? – Auto production faces bigger hit after Japan quake

Toyota Motor Co may slip to No. 3 in the automaker production rankings behind General Motors and Volkswagen due to Japan’s earthquake and nuclear crisis, which slashed local output by almost two-thirds in March alone.

A shortage of parts in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has savaged Japan’s auto sector supply chain, while damage to a major nuclear plant has disrupted power supplies.

Investors expecting overseas rivals to benefit from a prolonged slump in Japanese output pushed up shares in South Korea’s Hyundai Motors and associate Kia Motors to record highs on Monday.

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