Toyota's production up; gap with GM narrows
TOKYO - Toyota's global production last year surged 10 percent to more than
9 million vehicles, the Japanese automaker said Friday, narrowing the gap
with General Motors, the world's No. 1 automaker.
Toyota Motor Corp., riding on its reputation for fuel-efficient cars like
the Prius hybrid, produced 9.018 million vehicles, including its Japanese
subsidiaries that make trucks and smaller models. It was its fifth straight
year of growth.
General Motors Corp. and its group automakers' production rose to 9.18
million vehicles worldwide in 2006, according to the Detroit-based
automaker - about 162,000 vehicles more than its Japanese rival.
That gap has narrowed from about 819,000 vehicles at the end of 2005, when
Toyota and its Japanese units made 8.232 million vehicles worldwide and GM's
production totaled 9.051 million.
Late last year, Toyota set a global production target of 9.42 million
vehicles for this year, which is likely to put it ahead of GM, which does
not announce production targets for the full year ahead.
Toyota has already long beat GM in profitability, reporting robust earnings,
while GM has sunk into the red on massive restructuring costs. GM lost $3
billion through the first nine months of last year and lost $10.6 billion in
2005, but said it will report a profit in the fourth quarter.
Also Friday, data from automakers showed Honda Motor Co. had surpassed
Nissan Motor Co. to rise to Japan's No. 2 automaker in annual global vehicle
Solid demand for the Civic model boosted Honda's production in North America
and China, said company spokeswoman Yu Kimoto, as Honda achieved an all-time
calendar year record for worldwide production in 2006.
Honda had been ranked second among Japanese automakers in 2003, but fell to
No. 3 the last few years.
Global production at Nissan fell 7.7 percent in 2006 to 3.24 million
vehicles, while Honda's worldwide production last year rose 6.6 percent to
3.63 million vehicles.
In December, Toyota's global output totaled 624,219 vehicles, up 4.7 percent
from the same month of last year for a 26th straight month of growth.
Overseas production edged up 0.1 percent to 285,931 in the 60th consecutive
month of increase, while domestic production 8.8 percent to 338,288, the
16th straight monthly gain and a record high for December.
Nissan, which has an alliance with Renault SA of France, said global
production in December fell 3.2 percent 238,332 vehicles with domestic
output declining 6.9 percent and overseas production inching down 0.6
Honda said its global output rose 6.4 percent to 283,245 vehicles in
December. Production in Japan posted a 14.8 percent gain while overseas
output rose 1.2 percent.
Global production for Mazda Motor Corp. climbed 14.2 percent to 116,276
vehicles last month. For 2006, Mazda - 33.9 percent owned by U.S. automaker
Ford Motor Co. - produced 1.285 million vehicles worldwide, up 12.1 percent
Output at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. declined 3 percent to 109,960 vehicles in
December. Mitsubishi's global production last year slipped 3.6 percent to
1.31 million vehicles.
"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without
bloodshed,if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not
too costly,you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with
all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival.There may
even be a worse case;you may have to fight when there is no hope of
victory,because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."