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Japan’s Car Sales Hit New Low In July


2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid

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The aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan has resulted in new car sales in that country dropping almost 28 percent in July to just 241,472 vehicles. That’s the worst decline on record. Toyota led the way with a 37-percent reduction in sales over last year. Honda was down 33 percent. Nissan, which was not as impacted by the natural disasters as the other two automakers, saw sales fall 18 percent.

According to Reuters, despite the dismal car sales in July, Japanese carmakers are recovering from the earthquake and supply-chain disruptions faster than expected. For example, the Honda Motor Company was expected to post a loss during the last quarter. That didn’t happen. Instead, Honda announced a profit for those three months and raised its expected profit for year-end.

Nissan Motor Company recently said that its quarterly profit would be more than previously announced. Toyota reports its quarterly earnings tomorrow.

The Japan Automobile Dealers Association hopes that continuing vehicle shortages and supply-chain issues will be resolved by September.

Korean carmakers increase sales

While Japanese carmakers watch their sales figures decline, their South Korean rivals are taking full advantage and continue to gain market share from their Japanese counterparts. Hyundai and Kia, which together are ranked fifth in worldwide car sales, are reporting stronger global sales.

Hyundai’s international sales increased 10 percent in July. Kia’s sales worldwide were up 15 percent. Both companies are having difficulty keeping up with demand.

[Reuters]

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