TOKYO (AP) -- Global production at Japanese automakers surged in January amid booming demand for new cars in China.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday its worldwide output jumped 55.8 percent from a year earlier to 643,925 vehicles in January. The world's biggest automaker is mired in massive global recalls, which have damaged its reputation for quality in the U.S. and other developed markets.
Toyota suspended U.S. production for five days in early February amid the recall crisis, and plans to temporarily idle two British plants in March and April. It will also halt output at a French plant at least for five days over April and May.
Its president, Akio Toyoda, will appear at a congressional hearing Wednesday to explain the measures the company has adopted recently to beef up safety controls.
Toyota said its global output in January marked the fourth consecutive month of year-on-year increases. Among key regions, output in the United States -- Toyota's biggest market -- grew to 98,000 in January from 38,000 a year earlier.
Its production in China tripled from last year to 67,337. Toyota's production in Asia, including output in China, surged 95.2 percent year-on-year to 162,000.
"We have seen steady recovery in global demand since the Lehman shock. Among regions, demand in Asia continues to grow," said Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi, referring to the global meltdown followed by the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Toyota's rival Honda Motor Co. said its global production rose 28.3 percent in January to 290,752. Its production in China jumped 68.3 percent to 60,548, marking the eighth consecutive month of year-on-year increase.
Nissan Motor Co. said it made 285,986 vehicles in January, up 96.8 percent year-on-year. In China, it produced 58,171 units, a record for January, more than doubling from 23,423 in January last year. China is the biggest market for Nissan.