In September the Japanese automotive giant Toyota Motor Corporation saw its production in Japan and its largest destination market, North America, return to normal levels for the first time since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Toyota climbed by 0.9% in Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 Average to $35.3490 (Y2,702) in September, after recording an increased global output of 10.6% while domestic production rose by 11.9% in August.

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The automotive industry has emerged as a key driver of growth in Asia and Toyota has been crucial in helping Japan reverse its losses, as Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 Average climbed by 1% in September, driven by strong gains in motor manufacturers.

Toyota is the top foreign overseas investor from Asia, and the fDi Markets greenfield investment database found that between 2010 and 2011 the company had 60 overseas investment projects, 11 of which are based in North  America.

Whilst it still continues to suffer disruptions to its factory production in Japan due to the March 11 natural disasters, the automaker announced confident expectations of rebounding in October. Indeed Toyota is bent on further expansion, and in July this year it announced three major investment deals in the automotive sector worth $500m and $60m in Canada, and $33.75m in Kenya, according to fDi Markets. Furthermore investor signals identified by fDi Markets appear to point to Toyota’s intention to expand further projects predominantly into emerging markets.

The Asia-Pacific region remains paramount to its expansion strategy, and last November Toyota announced it will deploy conventional assembly lines in China and India, and this will require massive investments which also have increased its fixed costs for lifting production capacity. In February, Dihatsu, Toyota’s subsidiary, announced it will establish a new manufacturing plant worth $240m (Y20bn) in Indonesia to produce low cost cars, and production could commence as early as 2013.

The automotive sector in Asia remains dynamic, and fDi Markets found that out of the top 10 outward investors from the region that created the highest number of jobs, the top five were all car producers, four of which were Japanese producers, including Honda Motor Company, Nissan Motor Company and Suzuki Motor Corporation. The automobile manufacturers are working overtime for the remainder of 2011 and it could very well be that the worst is firmly behind them.