Toyota's Japan Sales Continue To Soar

Automaker's sales in Japan rose a hefty 50 percent last month, shrugging off any fallout from massive global recalls.

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota sales are booming in Japan, up a hefty 50 percent last month, shrugging off any fallout from massive global recalls.

Toyota Motor Corp. sales in Japan totaled 204,514 vehicles, up from 135,700 the same month last year, for the eighth straight month of on-year rise, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Thursday.

Japan's auto sales have been recovering, with sales jumping 10 percent in the year ending in March from the same period a year earlier to 3.2 million vehicles, according to the group. It said that was the first year-on-year increase in seven years.

Sales have gotten a lift from government tax breaks and incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles, helping a recovery from a sharp slowdown the past year.

Overnight, Toyota Group Vice President Bob Carter told The Associated Press that Toyota's U.S. sales surged 40 percent in March, as the automaker offered its biggest incentives ever, including zero-percent financing on models that previously were subject to recalls, low-priced leasing and free maintenance.

Automakers are scheduled to report March U.S. sales on Thursday. Toyota's sales fell 9 percent in February while the broader industry's climbed 13 percent.

Toyota has been fighting to regain its once-sterling reputation for quality after recalling more than 8 million vehicles around the world starting in October for faulty gas pedals, defective floor mats and braking software glitches.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda headed a meeting of quality officials from around the world at the company's headquarters Tuesday to speed up communication on consumer complaints and beef up training of quality professionals.

Toyota's brand power has been relatively unscathed in Japan because the only recalls here have been for the braking problem.

More in Supply Chain