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Toyota’s global volumes fall in April, led by drops in China and Japan

TOKYO >> Toyota Motor’s April global sales and production fell from a year earlier, hurt by an intense price war in China and a decline in Japan after a production stoppage of some models and a safety test scandal at its small car unit.

Global sales fell 0.5% in April, as a 27% slump in China – the world’s biggest auto market – and a 14% drop in Japan offset double-digit growth in the United States and Europe. Toyota said its China sales fell even as it held promotional events at stores across the country.

Automakers have been locked in a fierce price war in China’s huge but crowded auto market. Japanese car makers face huge pressure from the shift to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids sold by Chinese brands.

Toyota’s Japan sales were hit by a temporary halt to production of the Prius model at its Tsutsumi plant for quality checks and a partial halt of production at a line at a Toyota Auto Body plant that makes Noah and Voxy minivans. It also faced fallout from the scandal at small car maker Daihatsu.

The world’s top automaker by volume reported a 4.0% drop in global production, as weaker output in markets such as China, Japan, Thailand and Mexico outweighed higher production in the United States and India.

In February and March, Toyota was forced to repeatedly halt production at the plant in Tijuana, Mexico, where it makes the Tacoma pickup truck, Reuters reported this month.

Nearly 40% of the vehicles sold by Toyota in April were gasoline-electric hybrids. Only 2% were electric vehicles.

Global sales and production figures include Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand. Separate figures for Daihatsu showed its worldwide sales plunged 54% in April.

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