(Reuters) – Global auto sales for Japanese carmakers more than halved in April as the coronavirus pandemic forced governments to impose lockdowns that left streets empty and showrooms deserted.
Japan’s top eight automakers together posted a decline of 54.4% in April sales, according to a Reuters calculation.
Toyota Motor’s worldwide sales including units Daihatsu and Hino fell 45% to 472,703 vehicles – the fourth straight month of declines. Toyota’s performance was dragged down by a 51% slump in sales outside Japan.
Japan’s largest automaker this month said it expected profit this year to drop by 80% to its lowest in nine years, underscoring the challenge that even the most profitable carmakers are having to contend with during the pandemic.
Auto sales have slumped all around the world, including the two biggest markets, China and the United States.
While China reported an upturn in April auto sales from a year earlier by virtue of pent up demand after weeks of lockdown, annual sales could still fall by 15-25%.
Auto retail sales in the United States are likely to have halved in April, according to analytics firm J.D. Power. However, sales in May are expected to improve as most carmakers offer attractive incentives to boost demand as lockdowns ease.
Honda Motor’s global April sales fell 43% and Nissan Motor sold nearly 42% fewer cars than the same month last year.
Nissan on Thursday posted its first annual loss in 11 years and unveiled a plan to become a smaller, more cost-efficient automaker.
($1 = 107.7800 yen)
(Reporting by Yuki Nitta in Tokyo and Sayantani Ghosh in Singapore; Editing by David Goodman)