The decline in passenger car production rates that ran right throughout 1998 began to ease towards the end of the year as special factors came into play. For the full year the total number of cars built was 8,055,763, a decline of 5.1% against the 8,492,080 of 1997, but in December the deficit was a softer 1.7% at 648,357 from 659,510. However, the real reason for the late sunshine was the change in legislation concerning micro cars and the subsequent surge by the likes of Daihatsu and Suzuki to meet the swift upsurge in demand in the domestic market.