www.just-auto.com -- The Japanese auto industry has been ravaged by the recession that has hit Asia in recent years. Total new vehicle demand in Japan declined 24% over the course of the 1990s, from 7.8 million units in 1990 to just 5.9 million in 1999. Japanese auto companies have seen domestic and export sales crash, with dire consequences for their financial status. But research carried on just-auto.com suggests that the next few years will see a recovery to Japanese domestic vehicle sales and overall production volumes.

Japan's annual demand for cars and trucks is expected to be 17% higher in 2004 than in 1999 but still fail to eclipse its 1990 peak, according to the report issued by the global forecasting firm Standard & Poor's DRI. The report, available at www.just-auto.com/features_detail.asp?art=233 also predicts an increase in motor vehicle production by Japanese manufacturers over the next five years, though mostly in Japanese-owned plants in Asia, North America and Europe.

just-auto.com's Managing Editor, David Leggett, agreed with the Standard and Poor's DRI report's findings and commented: "The Japanese auto industry has been under and still is under extreme pressure. The recovery to domestic demand is taking time and still looks fragile, given the perilous state of the Japanese economy. Further consolidation surely lies ahead. Nevertheless, it is clear that the domestic picture will be improving and the Japanese makers will be making the most of their overseas facilities to grow overall production."

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