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July 25, 2007

Auto sector suffers biggest output loss from quake
Most of Japan's eight carmakers have resumed production completely after a suspension at some domestic factories following the shutdown of the country's top supplier of piston rings, Riken Corp, by a July 16 earthquake, Reuters reported.

Riken has said production of piston rings, seal rings and camshafts had mostly returned to normal at the factory. It aimed to make up for four days of lost production between July 17 and 20 "as soon as possible".

Including Japan's four truck makers, the suspensions cost the industry lost car and truck production of more than 125,000 units. That was the biggest impact the sector has ever suffered from a disaster, and about triple the lost production after a massive 1995 earthquake in Kobe that killed more than 6,000 people.

Fujio Cho, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, said on Wednesday that vehicle sales in July would soften significantly, but added the automakers planned to make up for lost production by the end of the calendar or business year.

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