TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's largest automakers made more cars in China last fiscal year then ever before, as surging demand in the booming Asian nation continued to drive a global recovery in auto manufacturing.
Due in part to the global financial crisis, China has passed Japan and the U.S. to become the world's No. 1 car market. Carmakers are ramping up production in China to offset declining or stagnant developed markets.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its China manufacturing rose 47 percent in the fiscal year through March 2010 from the previous year, to about 722,000 vehicles. That was a new record for the Chinese market and its biggest increase outside of Taiwan, where it makes far fewer cars.
Toyota rolled out its first Camry made in China just four years ago. It has partnerships with several domestic, state-owned automakers.
The world's largest car manufacturer said its overall global production inched up 2.5 percent to 7.28 million during its fiscal year. Production in the U.S. rose 12 percent.
Toyota increased its total output despite massive global recalls that have hurt its reputation for quality. As the problems came to light it briefly shut down plants across the U.S. and in other locations.
Chief rival Honda Motor Co. also said it set a record for Chinese production last fiscal year, with output rising 28 percent to 652,596 vehicles.
But its plants in other locations made fewer vehicles than the previous year, with large falls in Japan and Europe dragging down its global total 7.5 percent to 3.3 million.
Domestic production at Honda was down 22 percent to 901,775 vehicles.
Japan's No. 3 manufacturer, Nissan Motor Co., also made more vehicles in China then ever before, with production there soaring 58 percent to 613,183 vehicles.
That helped raise its global production 7.8 percent to 3.15 million vehicles, even as output slipped slightly in Japan and the U.S.
Many Japanese companies use a fiscal calendar that runs from April through March.