TOKYO — Japanese auto makers have projected substantial sales growth in the domestic car market in 1989 but expect a modest rise or even a decline in their export plans, largely because of the appreciation of the yen.
Domestic passenger car sales, including imported cars, hit a record 3.7 million units in 1988, and some industry executives have predicted that the volume this year is expected to top 5 million units.
Exports fell 3.2% to 6.1 million units, mainly because of sluggish sales to North America, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers' Assn. said.
The United States is the largest market for Japanese auto makers, taking nearly one third of their global sales.
Japan's top auto maker, Toyota Motor Corp., has projected a 2% decline in its exports in 1989, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. forecast declines of 2.4% and 1.2% respectively.
Yutaka Kume, president of Nissan Motor Co., said, "There is concern about the impact of the continued strong yen on exports. The situation for vehicle exports is expected to remain severe overall."