The head of Japan’s auto lobby urged the government and the Bank of Japan on Friday to quickly implement effective steps to counter the strong yen, after it hit a seven-month high against the dollar the previous day.
“The current foreign exchange level, which is far from the actual ability of the Japanese economy, goes much beyond the limits of what companies can do through efforts to cut costs,” Akio Toyoda, the head of Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), said in a statement.
“Japan’s manufacturing is facing a great crisis again, and if things remain this way it could have a further impact on employment,” said Toyoda, who is president of Toyota Motor Corp.
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Japan’s domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses saw their first rise in 13 months in September, reflecting the industry’s rebound from the huge disruption sparked by Japan’s quake and tsunami.
Sales in September grew 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 313,790 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Monday.
The figures do not include sales of mini vehicles — which have an engine capacity of 660 cc or less — and reflect a low basis of comparison from the same period a year earlier, when state subsidies for the purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles ended.
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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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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.
Read the rest of the story: Hollowing out of Japan’s auto industry.