The auto sector accounted for half of Japan’s record decline in March industrial output, the trade ministry said on Thursday.
Automobile production in March 2011 was recorded as 404,039 units. Compared with the 945,220 units total recorded for the same month of the previous year, this is a decrease of 541,181 units or 57.3%, and production decrease on the same month of the previous year for six consecutive months.
Moreover, domestic sales in March 2011 stood at 437,599 vehicles, down 35.1% as compared with the same month of the previous year.
Many see Japan sliding into temporary recession after the disasters left around 26,000 dead or missing and devastated infrastructure and manufacturing facilities in the nation’s worst crisis since World War II.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday cut its outlook on Japan’s sovereign debt following the disaster and warned that reconstruction costs could pass $600 billion.
“The full impact of the disaster is still unclear and hard to predict,” said Hideki Matsumura, a Japan Research Institute analyst, adding that the continued threat of power shortages going into the summer added to uncertainty.
Automobile export in March 2011 was recorded as 312,478 units. Compared with the 422,802 units total recorded for the same month of the previous year, this is a decrease of 110,324 units or 26.1%, and export decrease on the same month of the previous year after fourteen months of upturn.
Toyota recently said restoring its global production volume to normal levels would take eight months. The automaker, which is having difficulty sourcing about 150 different parts, said domestic production in March plunged 63 per cent from a year earlier.