Worldwide output at Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Japan's second-largest auto maker, plunged by a fifth in April, the company said on Wednesday, a drop that reflects planned inventory cutbacks but also falls in sales.

Global production fell 21 percent from a year earlier to 230,175 vehicles, with output in Japan dropping 30 percent and U.S. production declining 20 percent. British production slid 19 percent while output in Mexico was down 17 percent.

The fall stands in stark contrast to a 5.9 percent climb in April worldwide output for rival Toyota Motor Corp. and a 4.3 percent rise for Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

Nissan said the output fall at home was in line with a sharp 27 percent decline in April sales that was in part a reaction to strong numbers the previous year.

We are having a tough time in Japan, said company spokeswoman Mia Nieslen.

In the United States, high oil prices have spurred some customers to turn away from light trucks, hurting sales of Nissan's Titan full-size pickup truck and its Armada sport utility vehicle.

Analysts also said Nissan did not have a competitive small car like Toyota's Scion or Honda's Civic.

The auto maker is aggressively cutting back its U.S. inventory ahead of full-model changes later this year for its Altima and Sentra mid-size sedans, as well as its luxury-brand Infiniti G35 sedan.

While some analysts said the large drop in global output was within expectations, others said they were surprised.

A decline of some extent has been expected, but this number is hard to ignore, said Koichi Sugimoto, an analyst with Nomura Securities.

The slide in April production follows weak numbers since the beginning of the year, with January-April global output down 10 percent from the same period a year ago.

Nissan's share price dipped after the production numbers were released. It later recovered to end the day 1.3 percent higher at 1,370 yen although it underperformed a 2.7 percent rise in the transport equipment sector index.