Global auto production has been particularly hard hit by the shortage of parts following the devastating earthquake in Japan. The global economy may spin its wheels in a soft patch until the shortage of parts is over. Japanese automakers were especially hard hit, as their output crashed 55% from 9.3 million units (saar) during February to 4.1 million units during March. That’s the lowest level since December 1968. The shortage of Japanese parts also hit US automakers hard in April, when their output decreased 12.5% to 7.9 million units, at an annual rate.
German auto output dropped 2.0% m/m to 5.6 million units in April. March data show that auto output fell 18.1% m/m in Brazil to 3.6 million units, 15.7% in France to 1.6 million units, and 13.8% in Italy to 0.6 million units. On the other hand, UK auto output rose to a cyclical high of 1.4 million units during the month.
Chinese industrial production slipped 0.6% m/m during April. It had averaged gains of 1.6% during the first three months of the year. Chinese car production fell 16.0% during the month to 18.4 million units (saar) from 21.9 million units during March.