Sat, Dec 25, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Toyota’s worldwide production falls for third straight month

AP, TOKYO and LOS ANGELES

Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s No. 1 automaker, reported yesterday that its global production last month fell for the third straight month, even as Japanese rivals Nissan and Honda expanded output.

Toyota, whose reputation took a hit this year from massive recalls, said its worldwide production fell 8.7 percent from a year earlier to 656,924 vehicles. Production outside Japan rose 0.3 percent thanks to higher output in South Africa and in Asia.

The company agreed to pay US$10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash that led to recalls of millions of the automaker’s vehicles, an attorney said on Thursday.

The maker of the Corolla and Prius hybrid recorded a 9.4 percent fall in exports and a 35 percent slide in domestic sales, which tumbled because of the expiration of government subsidies for ecological car purchases.

Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co produced 317,473 vehicles globally last month, up 5.4 percent from a year earlier and the 12th straight month of growth.

Production in China and the rest of Asia hit a record-high for the company, Honda said. In China alone, it made 61,955 vehicles, up 2.7 percent from the previous year. Honda’s exports rose 71 percent, while sales in Japan plunged 37 percent.

ROBUST DEMAND

Nissan Motor Co, based in Yokohama, Japan, made 372,106 vehicles during the month, up 19 percent and a record-high for November, the company said. Robust demand for the new March compact car and the NV200 van drove China production up 19 percent on year to 91,633.

That helped offset an 8.6 percent output decline in the US.

Toyota’s US$10 million Lexus lawsuit was released on Thursday by Orange County lawyer Larry Willis, who represents the dealership that lent the Lexus to the family, attorney Jean-Paul Jassy said.

Jassy spoke with Willis and represented several media organizations that filed a motion opposing efforts to keep the details sealed.

SETTLEMENT

The dealership was privy to the confidential September settlement agreement, but has not yet reached its own agreement with those who sued.

The settlement amount was first reported on Thursday by the Los Angeles Times.

Toyota, which did not admit or deny liability in the settlement, said in a statement it was disappointed the amount had been made public.

“As is common in these cases, these parties agreed to keep the amount confidential, in part to protect the families from unwanted solicitations and to allow them to move on from this difficult period,” the automaker said.

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