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In Brief : Japanese Auto Makers Set Record

From Times staff and wire service reports

Japanese auto makers built a record 12.7 million cars, trucks and buses in 1988, up 3.7% from the previous year, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Assn. announced today.

The previous record, 12.3 million vehicles, was set in 1985. Annual output declined since then due to the yen’s sharp rise against the U.S. dollar, making Japanese cars more expensive in the United States. A soft American market also contributed to the decline.

Export figures for 1988, due for release next week, will show a total of about 6 million vehicles, meaning a decline of 3.2% from 1987, the report said.

The association attributed the record-high 1988 production to brisk domestic sales, which shot up 11% to a record 6.7 million vehicles. The strong domestic demand was a result of Japan’s steady economic growth and vigorous personal spending, it said.

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Toyota Motor Corp. last year again produced the largest number of vehicles among 11 Japanese makers, nearly 4 million, up 9.1% from 1987. Nissan Motor Co. was second, at nearly 2.2 million, down 2.8%.


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