Japanese auto sales in Asia to top domestic market
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Agence France-Presse . Tokyo

Japanese automobile sales in other Asian markets are forecast to reach five million units in 2008, surpassing the domestic market for the first time, a newspaper said Sunday.

Combined domestic sales by eight Japanese automakers shrank six per cent to 4.94 million units in 2007, and they are expecting sales at home to remain almost unchanged from the 2007 level, the Nikkei newspaper said.

In sharp contrast, sales of Japanese cars in Asia, including China and Pacific nations, jumped 14 per cent to 4.8 million units in Asia last year, the business daily said.

For 2008, their total Asian sales, excluding Japan, are likely to expand by more than 700,000 units to about 5.5 million, overtaking the Japanese auto market in terms of unit sales and trailing only the North American market, where 6.8 million units were sold in 2007, it said.

The home market appears likely to remain in a long slump due in part to the shrinking population, while the North American market, the backbone of Japanese auto sales, is losing steam amid growing signs of an economic downturn.

Domestic automakers are increasingly relying on Asia for their growth amid dimming prospects for the Japanese and North American markets, Nikkei added.

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