TOKYO — Japan's production of cars, trucks and buses fell during April from a year earlier for the first time in 19 months, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Assn. announced Friday.
Japanese auto makers produced 1,067,572 vehicles during the latest reporting month, down 1.7% from the year-earlier level.
Officials traced the April decline to a slowdown in exports, which they said had been expected to show a modest 4% gain. April export data were scheduled for release next week.
The April production decline followed a 1.3% increase in March, compared with the same month a year earlier, when the total output rose to a March record of 1,099,083 units.
In April, production of small trucks was especially weak, falling 24.5% from a year earlier to 137,729 vehicles.
Officials said the drop in small truck production resulted mainly from stagnant shipments to the United States. But they added the decline stemmed partly from a recent increase in commercial vehicle production in the United States by Japanese manufacturers, rather than slackening U.S. demand.
Output of medium-sized trucks rose 11.2% from April, 1985 to 121,618 units.