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Toyota's Global Output Falls In December

World's No. 1 automaker said worldwide production of vehicles fell for fourth straight month, dented by falling output in Japan after green car subsidies expired.

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota Motor Corp., the world's No. 1 automaker, said Thursday its worldwide production of vehicles fell for the fourth straight month in December, dented by falling output in Japan after subsidies for green cars expired.

Meanwhile, Japanese rivals Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. expanded production to meet strong demand overseas. Toyota said its global production declined 6.5 percent from a year earlier in December to 594,882 vehicles.

The fall reflected a steep double-digit drop in output from its Japanese factories, which was accompanied by a 33 percent tumble in domestic sales. The expiration of Japanese government subsidies for energy efficient vehicle purchases has battered sales industrywide.

The maker of the Corolla and Prius hybrid recorded a 6.2 percent rise in exports thanks to larger shipments to Latin America, Europe and Asia. Production outside Japan rose 1 percent to 351,053 vehicles -- a record high for the month of December, Toyota said.

For all of 2010, Toyota's global production expanded almost 20 percent to 7.623 million vehicles.

Nissan, based in Yokohama, Japan, made 351,334 vehicles in December, up 20 percent and a record high for the month, the company said.

Robust demand for the new March compact car and the NV200 van drove China production up 21 percent year-on-year, offsetting a slight 0.1 percent output decline in the U.S. Exports rose 34 percent to 76,490 vehicles, and domestic sales fell 20 percent.

Nissan produced 4.053 million vehicles in 2010, up 37 percent and a single-year record for the company.

Tokyo-based Honda produced 287,740 vehicles globally in December, up 0.3 percent from a year earlier and the 13th straight month of growth. Exports more than doubled to 27,381 vehicles, while sales in Japan fell 35 percent.

Honda's worldwide output in 2010 rose 21 percent to 3.643 million vehicles -- its first increase in two years. Its production in Asia and China hit a record high for a single year, Honda said.

Among other automakers, Mazda Motor Corp.'s global production rose more than 16 percent to 115,810 vehicles in December. Its 2010 output surged 33 percent to 1.308 million vehicles.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. produced 94,201 vehicles in December, down 2.1 percent from a year earlier. It made 1.172 million vehicles worldwide in 2010, up 48 percent and the first annual rise since 2007.

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