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Toyota's global sales sink 26% in H1

TOYOTA'S global sales plunged 26 percent in the first half of this year as the recession hit auto demand, but troubles at United States rival General Motors saw the Japanese auto maker retain its world No. 1 spot.

Toyota Motor Corp said yesterday it sold 3.56 million vehicles in January through June, beating General Motors Co by about 10,000 units. GM sold 3.55 million vehicles worldwide in the same period, as growth in the Asia-Pacific region offset a slump in North American sales that led to GM filing for bankruptcy protection last month.

Global production at Toyota tumbled 40.6 percent to 2.97 million during the six months, largely because of production cuts earlier this year, company spokesman Yuta Kaga said. Toyota's domestic production totaled 1.48 million, down 43.7 percent from a year earlier.

In June, global production at Toyota totaled 636,307 units, down 23.7 percent from a year earlier.

"Although monthly sales and production remained weaker than last year, there are signs of recovery," Kaga said. Booming sales of Prius hybrid cars and other fuel-efficient models have also helped, he said.

Production at Toyota's Japanese rivals also plunged.

Honda Motor Co said its global production plunged 33.7 percent to 1.32 million in the January-to-June period, including 257,852 units in June. Production at Japan's No. 2 auto maker dived 86 percent in Europe and 40 percent in the United States during the six-month period.

Nissan Motor Co saw its global production fall 40 percent to 1.1 million units in January-to-June period. The nation's No. 3 car maker said June's global output sank 22.2 percent to 240,827 units.

Nissan's global sales fell 23.2 percent to 1.54 million units in the first six months, the company said.


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