Is the worst over for Japan's automakers?

There is no denying Japan’s automakers took some extreme measures at the start of the year. As sales slumped around the world, nothing was safe from cost cutting. Mitsubishi Motors apologized before one press conference for not providing water as an emergency cost saving measure. The chief engineer of a new Lexus shared a car with two colleagues rather than take the bullet train from Toyota City to Tokyo, even though it took four hours versus 90 minutes on the train, to save $300 in train fares. More important: the likes of Toyota, Honda and Nissan slashed production at the start of the year—in some months trimming output 65% from a year earlier—as they battled to reduce inventories.

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