Toyota Closing In On GM As Global Production Continues To Climb

For February, Toyota’s global production was up 0.9 percent on year, its 28th month of increase.

Tokyo (AP)- Toyota Motor Corp., closing in on General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest vehicle maker, said Wednesday its global production climbed in February for 28th straight month of increase.

Toyota reported worldwide output totaled 680,968 vehicles in February, up 0.9 percent from the same month last year.

Overseas production edged up 1.5 percent to 311,167 units, the 62nd straight month of increase, while output in Japan rose 0.4 percent to 369,801 vehicles for an 18th straight month of increase and a record for February.

Last year, Toyota's global output surged 10 percent to 9.018 million vehicles, bringing it closer to Detroit-based GM, which produced 9.18 million vehicles worldwide in 2006.

Surging oil prices have led drivers to opt for fuel-efficient cars like Toyota's Prius hybrid and the midsize Toyota Camry, which has been the best-selling car in the U.S. market.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's second-largest automaker, said its global production rose 5.6 percent to 301,897 units in the 19th month of increase and a record for February.

Honda's domestic output climbed 8.6 percent to 115,460 vehicles for a ninth consecutive month, while overseas production rose 3.8 percent to 186,437 units.

Nissan Motor Co. said its global production fell 3.1 percent to 282,542 vehicles in February. Nissan, which has an alliance with Renault SA of France, said overseas output inched down 0.1 percent to 172,293 vehicles and its domestic production dropped 7.5 percent to 110,249 units.

In the U.S., Nissan's production rose for the new Altima sedan but the reduced output of other models resulted in a 15.6 percent fall to 58,173 vehicles there.

Mazda Motor Corp. reported its global output fell 5.2 percent to 110,448 units in February. Mazda, which is 33.9 percent owned by Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker Ford Motor Co., rolled out 30,873 vehicles at its overseas plants, down 11.5 percent, while domestic production slipped 2.6 percent to 79,575 units.

Production at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. fell 4.6 percent to 114,724 vehicles, with a 19.2 percent drop in overseas production offsetting a 6.0 percent gain in domestic production.