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Japan's automakers set production records in China

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[October 28, 2009]  TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese automakers are experiencing a production boom in China with Toyota, Honda and Nissan setting records for September -- the latest signs of an emerging recovery for Japan's auto industry.

Honda Motor Co.'s production set a record for the company in both China and Asia overall for September, although total overseas production has been declining for a year.

Japan's No. 2 automaker produced 60,741 vehicles in China, up 20 percent from the same month a year earlier. Honda's global production fell 16.6 percent to 300,742 in September, it said in a statement Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. produced 64,880 vehicles in China in September, up 37 percent from the same month last year and the best results for September.

China has been widening its lead over the U.S. as the world's top auto market, with the industry's September sales jumping 78 percent over a year earlier, boosted by tax cuts and government stimulus spending. Sales in smaller cities have been booming as automakers rush to woo first-time car buyers with new models.

Nissan Motor Co., allied with Renault SA of France, also set a record in China for a single month's production at 55,174 vehicles in September, up 62.9 percent.

Mazda Motor Corp. produced 14,566 vehicles in China, about double from a year earlier and a record for September, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said production surged 56 percent in Taiwan and quadrupled in China.

On Tuesday, Honda reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, and raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March 2010, to 155 billion yen ($1.7 billion), up 13 percent from the previous fiscal year.

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That has set off hopes other Japanese automakers may have similar good news when they report earnings over the next few weeks, boosted by strong demand in China and other emerging markets.

Honda shares gained in Tokyo trading Wednesday on optimism about its outlook, rising 3.3 percent to 2,940 yen ($32).

Toyota's global production for September, including group companies Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors, sank 4 percent on year to 758,290 vehicles.

Nissan's global production for the month slipped 8.5 percent to 289,422 vehicles. Mazda saw its global production sink nearly 17 percent to 107,332 vehicles in September, while Mitsubishi's global production dropped 29 percent for the 14th consecutive monthly decline to 87,255 vehicles.

[Associated Press; By YURI KAGEYAMA]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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