November's automobile production, not to be confused with total sales, has dropped by 6.7 percent in Japan as compared to a year ago. According to data published by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, November 2010 automobile production hit 802,009 total units. However, the overall drop fails to tell the whole story.
Japan's production of standard cars – vehicles with an engine that displaces two liters or more – shot up 3.7 percent year-on-year in November. Likewise, truck production rose by 3.3 percent to 101,853 units and bus output increased by 11.7 percent, hitting 10,348 units. So, larger vehicle's fared well, but how about the small autos?
Overall, passenger car production dropped off by 8.2 percent, falling to 689,808 units. Output of small cars – vehicles with an engine that displaces between 660 cc and 2.0 liters, just outside the tiny Kei car class – declined by 30.3 percent and mini cars (under 660 cc) were down 4.2 percent. Though production numbers have no direct connection to sales, the reported figures seem to suggest that Japan's enthusiasm for smaller autos, which are likely to be more fuel efficient than larger vehicles, is waning.