Helped by the weak yen, Japanese automakers increased US vehicle production by 36% and imports from Japan by 19%.
Last year Japanese automakers manufactured 3.3 million vehicles in the US, an increase from 2.4 million in 2011. This was the highest level since 2007, when automakers in Japan built 3.5 million units in the States, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. The Asian automakers managed to rebound from the earthquake which hit Japan in 2011 and increase their market share in the US to 36.9% from 34.9% in 2011.
“We’re finally seeing recovery from the recession as well as the earthquake and tsunami,” Ron Bookbinder, general director of JAMA USA, said in an interview. “As long as the U.S. economy and U.S. vehicle demand hold up, U.S. production should continue to rise.”
The weakening yen, which has dropped 19% against the dollar beginning with October 31st, offers the Japanese automaker extra $1,500 to $2,000 for each vehicle sold, also reducing the production costs in their home country and also the US. In 2012 auto imports from Japan increased 1.7 million units, from 1.4 million the previous year.
Nissan reported an increase of 25% in May, three times more the industry gain, after it reduces prices on several models. Exports from the Japanese automakers’ plants in the US also reached a record 335,680 vehicles in 2012, up 29% from 259,908 units in 2011.