Total domestic output by Japanese automakers in 2021 fell to its lowest level in 45 years, dropping 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 7.85 million vehicles, amid a supply shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, industry data showed Monday.

According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, total output in Japan decreased for the third straight year. The prolonged global semiconductor crunch could continue to hit the auto industry this year.

The figure is about 42 percent lower from its peak of 13.49 million units produced in 1990. Automakers may face difficulty in sustaining employment and maintaining factories if the level of output remains low.

The industry data was compiled based on figures from eight major automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., and four manufacturers of commercial vehicles such as Isuzu Motors Ltd.

Total output of passenger cars dropped 4.9 percent from 2020 to 6.62 million vehicles, but the data showed that those of trucks and buses increased. The output of trucks rose 11.2 percent to 1.15 million units, and buses increased 5.5 percent to 73,659.

Domestic production largely exceeded 10 million units between 1980 and 2008, but has been below that level since falling to 7.93 million units in 2009. The strengthening of the Japanese yen and the relocation of factories overseas have led to a decrease in domestic output.

Among the eight major automakers, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. was the only one that saw an increase in output.

According to the data, oversees output stood at 16.46 million units in 2021, a 7.1 percent rise from a year earlier and the first increase in three years, amid recovering demand in the United States and other markets.