- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2006

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automakers produced more vehicles overseas than they did at home for the first time in the fiscal year that ended March 31, an industry group said yesterday.

Japanese automakers produced 10.93 million vehicles abroad in fiscal 2005, while they made 10.89 million vehicles in Japan, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

The report from the association underlines the success Japanese automakers have scored as powerful global companies making and selling products around the world. The trend for the automakers to move production abroad has been continuing for decades.

Japan’s exports of cars, trucks and buses rose 14.6 percent in June, rising for the 11th straight monthly increase, the group said. Vehicle exports totaled 507,608 vehicles in the month, up from 442,791 vehicles the same month last year.

Japanese automakers have been on a roll, boosting market share in the U.S. and other key global regions as surging oil prices make their fuel-efficient models more attractive to consumers.

Profit at Honda Motor Co. for the April-June quarter soared 30 percent as its global vehicle sales jumped 6.7 percent for the quarter. Toyota Motor Corp. reports earnings Friday.

The rosy results from Japan contrast with the struggles of U.S. automakers General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., which both lost money during the latest quarter.

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