Japanese car production rose 21.3% last year, the first increase in three years – though the trend is almost certainly downward, as makers like Nissan prepare to shift more manufacturing out of the home market.
Passenger car output jumped to 8.3 million in 2010, the first upturn since 2007, while truck production rose 22.8%, to 1.2 million, the first move upward in seven years, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
The increases reflected a rise in motor vehicle exports, which jumped 33.8%. That was the first positive move in two years, JAMA announced.
The increases all came as good news for a Japanese economy that has struggled through more than a decade of stagnation. But there are strong indications things won’t last. On the local front, the Japanese government has wrapped up its green car incentive program, which helped spur strong demand for models like the Toyota Prius – the top-selling automobile in Japan in 2010 – and the Honda Insight.