TOKYO, March 15 Major Japanese automakers are
changing their production plans in North America as the economy
there slows, with Honda Motor Corp (7267.T) even halting truck
production in Canada, the Nikkei business daily said on
Carmakers have been hit particularly hard by recent signs
of a possible recession in the United States, and the dollar's
fall against the yen has helped push their shares sharply
Honda will stop making pickup trucks in Canada at the start
of next year, switching such production from a plant in Ontario
to a plant in Alabama, and instead increase production in
Canada of small cars that are selling well, the Nikkei said.
Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will decrease production at a
plant in Indiana by roughly 10 percent, while Nissan Motor Co
(7201.T) is already decreasing production at two U.S. plants.
Japanese exporters, such as car makers, suffer when the yen
strengthens as Japanese goods become less competitive overseas
and the strong yen eats into profits when they are repatriated.
But the Nikkei reported that several firms, including
Nissan and Mitsubishi Motor <7211.T,> plan to take advantage of
the cheaper dollar to expand their exports from the United
Mitsubishi Motor plans to export U.S.-made cars to China
and the Middle East, and expand its exports to Russia, while
Nissan plans to expand exports to the Middle East.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Ben Tan)