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Toyota records first worldwide output growth in a year as production recovers from disasters
TOKYO (AP) ' Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday its global production rose for the first time in a year in August as Japanese automakers continued to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Worldwide output at Japan's biggest automaker climbed 10.6 percent from a year earlier to 626,817 vehicles. Production rose at both domestic and overseas factories, especially in South Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe.
Its exports of passenger cars climbed 15 percent, but domestic sales fell more than 25 percent.
The automaker is preparing to ramp up production in the coming months to make up for losses caused by the March earthquake and tsunami, which wiped out auto parts suppliers. Between October and March 2012, it plans to build an extra 350,000 vehicles.
Rival Nissan Motor Co. also reported robust figures for August. Its global production jumped almost 24 percent to 385,112 vehicles ' its best-ever August performance. The figure was offset in part by a 2.5 decline in Japan.
Sales in Japan fell 19 percent, while exports surged 34 percent.
Nissan said its global gains are being powered by strong demand for models like the Altima sedan, Versa hatchback and Rogue crossover SUV.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor Co. posted its seventh straight month of lower production, lagging behind its main rivals and underscoring the impact of a strong yen and global economic uncertainty. Worldwide output fell 9.3 percent to 261,524 vehicles.
Honda's sales in Japan slid more than 47 percent, and exports tumbled almost 38 percent.
Among Japan's other car makers, Suzuki Motor Corp. posted an 11.5 percent decline in global production to 206,049 vehicles.
Worldwide output at Mazda Motor Corp. fell 3 percent to 94,052 vehicles. At Mitsubishi Motors Corp., it declined about 8.3 percent to 82,351 vehicles.