Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s No. 1 automaker whose reputation has been dented by massive recalls, reported a fall in global car production for October even as it and Japanese rivals Nissan and Honda produced a record number of vehicles in China.
Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Corolla compact and Lexus luxury cars, said Friday that global output fell 12.5 percent in October to 687,660 vehicles. Its production in China of 62,124 vehicles last month was up 4.4 percent from the previous year and a record high for October.
Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co. produced 305,406 vehicles worldwide in October, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier and the 11th straight month of growth, driven by the popularity of the Fit subcompact and other models.
In China alone it made 55,507 vehicles, up 4.4 percent from the year before and a record for October.
The Japanese, known for their quality autos, are relative latecomers in China compared to U.S. and European rivals. But China and other fast-growing emerging markets still hold great potential for growth particularly at a time when demand for new cars in developed markets such as Japan and North America remains sluggish. Toyota, meanwhile, is dealing with lagging sales in the U.S. where most of its recalls that began last year were concentrated.
Nissan Motor Co., based in Yokohama, Japan, produced 363,227 vehicles worldwide last month, up 11.6 percent from 2009, as demand stayed strong for Nissan cars in Mexico and Europe, and trucks and sport-utility vehicles sold briskly in the U.S.
Honda, which makes the Odyssey minivan and Asimo robot, and Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, are locked neck-and-neck for the position of Japan’s No. 2 automaker in annual vehicle production.
Nissan has record production in China, producing 84,686 vehicles in October, up 17 percent from the same month last year.
Among other automakers, Mazda Motor Corp.’s global production improved 4.9 percent in October from the previous year at 111,100 vehicles. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. produced 106,909 vehicles in October, up 25.7 percent.