The Japan Automobile Manufacturers’ Assn. says production in Japan of cars, trucks and buses fell last December to 730,099 vehicles, a 9.5% drop from like-2000. In the last four months of 2001, production, sales and exports were below year-earlier levels.

Total Japanese production was 9.77 million units in 2001, down 3.6% from 2000 and marking the first drop since 1999.

December vehicle sales in Japan were 441,851, a decrease of 4.6% from the same month a year ago.