Toyota Motor Corp., closing in on GM as the world's biggest vehicle maker, said that its global production increased in February for the 28th straight month.
Overseas production increased 1.5 percent to 311,167 units, the 62nd straight month of increase. 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.
The Detroit News reported that Japan's Nissan Motor Co. saw a global production drop of 3.1 percent in February. 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 here. Nissan plans to scrap a system in which Tokyo is in charge of all 2,900 outlets in Japan, and set up 10 regional groups that will oversee dealers in each region. The new plan will boost the operating-profit margin at Nissan's group-sales subsidiaries to 2.5 percent by 2010 from 1 percent now, said Akira Sato, a Nissan corporate vice president.