Japanese automakers’ May global sales declined 38% due to coronavirus

Tokyo, Japan

Japanese automakers’ global sales dropped 38% in May, in the third straight month of big declines as most automotive factories and dealerships remained shut because of coronavirus lockdowns.

The country’s seven major automakers sold about 1.47 million vehicles last month, dropping significantly from 2.38 million units a year ago, according to Reuters calculations based on sales data provided by these automakers. But the decline was smaller than the 50% tumble posted in April.

Global production at these automakers dropped 62% to 918,974 units in May, compared to a production decline of 55% in April.

Car demand has dropped worldwide since March as people were forced to stay inside their homes in most countries because of lockdowns to control the outbreak, resulting in deep uncertainty about the longer-term economic impact.

Many countries have been easing their lockdowns, but industry experts expect that it would take about five years for demand to recover to 2019 levels.

Toyota Motor sold 609,460 vehicles in May, dropping 34% from a year ago. Nissan Motor’s sales fell 37.3% on year to 272,873 units, while sales at Honda Motor’s sales declined 29% to 327,000 units.

Vehicle sales dropped in almost all regions, with North America and Europe being the worst hit. China was the only country, where Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda Motor reported higher sales figures.

Most automakers are gearing up for a big financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic due to the lockdowns. Toyota has said it expects an 80% profit decline this year, its lowest in nine years.

So far, coronavirus has infected 10,154,984 people worldwide of which 5,147,436 have made recovery. The virus has killed 502,048 people.

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