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Japan's carmakers face bigger quake hit

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Japan's carmakers face bigger quake hit

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Car production in Japan will continue to face major disruptions from last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota has revealed it lost almost two-thirds of its Japanese output in March. That means it could slip to third place in the world production rankings behind General Motors and Volkswagen this year.

Investors expecting overseas rivals to benefit. In Japan and North America, South Korea’s Hyundai, GM and Ford stand to be the biggest winners, analysts said, because of Hyundai’s established small-car lineup and GM and Ford’s growing and improved small-car lineups.

Domestic production at Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, plummeted 63 percent in March, while Japan’s No. 2 Nissan said its corresponding figure fell 52 percent.

Honda, Japan’s third largest carmaker and fourth-biggest in the US market, said on Monday it would take until the end of the year before production returned to normal, echoing recent comments from Toyota.

Production has also been disrupted outside Japan, as factories in Europe, North America and the rest of Asia scale back due to parts shortages.