Japanese auto production grew strongly in January as the country’s main automakers continued to bounce back from last year’s production problems caused by the two massive natural disasters in Asia – the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March and the floods in Thailand the following October.

Toyota Motor reported the strongest recovery in January from last year’s disasters. Its global vehicle output rose by 17.6% year on year to 809,630 units, including a 27.3% increase in Japan to 370,370 units and a 10.4% increase overseas to 439,730 units.

Honda Motor’s global vehicle production increased by 6.9% to 316,926 units – reflecting 42.4% growth in domestic output to 98,473 units. Overseas production fell by 3.9% to 218,453 units in January, due mainly to declines across its Asian units, which more than offset strong growth in North America and Europe.

Honda’s regional factory in Thailand was flooded for most of the fourth quarter of 2011 and is not expected to restart operations until the end of March. This has affected output at other plants in the region. Output in China was lower due to a shorter working month due to the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.

Nissan Motor’s global vehicle output rose by 3.7% to 389,230 units, thanks mainly to a 17.4% rise in domestic production to 96,093 units. Production outside of Japan fell by 0.1% year-on-year to 293,126 units. 

Strong output increases in the USA, Mexico and, the UK and Spain were offset by a 30% decline in China – also due to fewer working days in  the month compared with last year.