The two largest car makers in Japan, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., made more vehicles in the last fiscal to meet the growing demand in emerging markets.
Toyota, vying with US-based General Motors Corp. (GM) to be the world’s largest car maker, increased global production 6.9% to 8.7 million vehicles in the year ended 31 March, and Honda’s output rose 6.8% to 3.96 million vehicles, they said in separate statements. Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third largest automaker, raised production 9.6% to 3.51 million vehicles.
Carmakers are boosting production in growing markets including China, India and Russia, as demand slows in the US and Japan. Toyota opened its first plant in Russia in December, and Honda is setting up a second factory in India.
“Japanese car sales will grow in emerging markets, outperforming the industry in some instances,” said Akihiko Imagawa, an analyst at auto consulting company CSM Worldwide in Tokyo. Sales of Japanese brands will grow 11% this year in China, compared with 8.8% for the total industry, Imagawa said.
Toyota, excluding affiliates Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd, increased overseas production by 12% to 4.4 million vehicles.
Domestic output rose 1.9% to 4.3 million vehicles last fiscal year. Toyota expects to increase sales 40% to 700,000 vehicles in China this year.
Toyota said that for the quarter ended on 31 March, its global sales rose 2.7% to 2.41 million vehicles. Toyota may end GM’s 77-year title as the world’s largest auto maker this year after losing the battle by about 3,000 vehicles last year.Both Toyota and GM have suffered from a decline in demand in the US, their biggest market.
Excluding sales at Daihatsu and Hino, Toyota’s sales in North America, the biggest auto market, declined 4.4% to 616,554 units in the quarter.
Honda’s overseas output last fiscal year rose 13%, but domestic output fell 3.8%.
Honda plans to boost sales in China by 15% to 492,000 vehicles this year. It is setting up a second factory in India in Rajasthan. Honda makes City, Civic and Accord models in India and imports CR-Vs.
Suzuki Motor Corp., Japan’s second largest mini-car maker, built 2.6 million vehicles worldwide last fiscal, an increase of 9.3%, it said.
Naoko Fujimura and Tetsuya Komatsu in Tokyo and Greg Bensinger in New York contributed to this story.