TOKYO (AP) -- Global production at Japan's top automakers tumbled in May, hit by a lingering slump in demand and uncertainty over a recovery in the battered industry.
Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest carmaker, said Thursday its worldwide output dropped 38.8 percent from a year earlier to 442,621 vehicles -- the 10th straight monthly decline.
Among key regions, Toyota's production in the United States plunged 48.2 percent to around 56,000. Toyota operates five auto plants in the U.S. In Japan, Toyota made 192,637 vehicles, down 41.9 percent year-on-year.
Like their foreign rivals, Japanese automakers have been hammered by the global slump in auto demand, tightening credit in the key North American market and the strong yen, which erodes their overseas profits.
Amid the industry's worst crisis, shareholders of the Japanese auto giant approved Tuesday the appointment of Akio Toyoda as new president. Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker's founder Kiichiro Toyoda, faces the daunting task of reviving the battered company.
Toyota lost 436.9 billion yen ($4.6 billion) during the fiscal year through March, its worst loss since it was founded in 1937. It expects an even larger loss this year.
Honda Motor Co., Japan's No. 2 automaker, said its global production continued to tank in May. Honda made 195,085 vehicles worldwide, down 38.4 percent.
To cope with plummeting demand, Honda halted auto production in Europe from February to May. But Honda said it is resuming production at its plant in Swindon, in southern England, Honda's only vehicle factory in Europe.
Nissan Motor Co. said the pace of decline in global production became moderate in May. The Japanese carmaker, allied with Renault SA of France, made 201,340 vehicles worldwide, down 27 percent from a year earlier.
"In March and April, our global production plunged 44.9 percent and 38.2 percent respectively. In that sense, the latest figure is an improvement. But overall global demand is still weak and market conditions remain severe," said Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa.
Nissan's production in Spain nose-dived 68.4 percent in May, while its output in the U.S. plunged 41.4 percent. Output in Japan fell 36.3 percent.
But China is the bright spot for Nissan with production in the world's third-largest economy soaring 56.8 percent in May thanks to booming demand for the Teana sedan and the Tiida subcompact car.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said its global production in May totaled 44,902 for the 15th straight monthly decline, marking a 54.6 percent drop from a year earlier.
Mazda Motor Corp. also reported a drop in global production at 66,531 vehicles, down 37 percent.