BUSINESS BRIEFING

BUSINESS BRIEFING

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

AUTOMOTIVE

Toyota's Output Rises Again

Toyota reported its 25th straight monthly increase in worldwide production. Nissan, meanwhile, said it produced fewer cars in November than a year earlier.

Toyota said production totaled 736,003 vehicles in November, up 12.3 percent from November 2005.

Last week, Toyota executives in Japan set a production target of 9.42 million vehicles for 2007, 4 percent more than it expects to produce this year and more than the 9.2 million that General Motors is estimated to have produced this year.

Nissan, Japan's No. 2 automaker, said its worldwide production fell 1.1 percent, to 291,737 vehicles, in November.

JAPAN

Sharp to Double Big LCD Output

Sharp, Japan's largest maker of liquid-crystal displays and mobile phones, said it would double production of large LCD screens in January, two months ahead of schedule, to meet demand for its Aquos flat-panel television sets.

Sharp leads the $44 billion worldwide LCD market. It gets about 22 percent of its revenue from LCD-panel sales and about 40 percent from the division that makes the LCD TVs and mobile phones.

Consumer Sp ending Remains Low

The Japanese government kept its assessment of the economy unchanged, saying sluggish consumption was hurting the country's recovery.

Rising production and capital investment propelled the world's second-largest economy to a record 59th consecutive month of recovery, according to a Cabinet Office report.

But the report, which looks at a variety of economic factors other than gross domestic product, warned of weakness in consumer spending. Sluggish growth in wages is keeping spending flat, it said.


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