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Toyota auto output up for first time in 12 months

TOKYO, Sept 28 – Japan’s Toyota Motor on Wednesday said domestic production rose for the first time in 12 months in August as it recovers from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Total domestic production of cars, trucks and buses produced by Toyota and its two affiliates — Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors — rose 12.0 percent from a year earlier to 311,153 vehicles.

Domestic output by Toyota alone rose 11.9 percent to 252,374, also the first gain since the March disasters caused supply chain disruptions and power supply problems that forced plant shutdowns, it said.

However, the Toyota group’s domestic sales fell 18.4 percent to 148,085 in August with exports up 18.4 percent at 146,250. Its worldwide production rose 11.0 percent to 702,603.

Toyota has said its production was expected to fully recover after September when post-quake parts shortages subside. Sales by the world’s biggest car maker were hammered in the April-June quarter due to its inability to produce at normal levels.

Along with Japan’s other automakers, Toyota has been hiring thousands of temporary workers in an effort to make up for lost output.

Toyota has said it aims to hire up to 4,000 workers in Japan.

Nissan Motor separately said its domestic output fell 2.5 percent in August to 89,262, with its domestic sales down 19.2 percent at 44,530.

Many component manufacturers that are key to auto production are based in the worst-hit regions of Japan, their facilities damaged by the 9.0-magnitude seabed quake or swamped by the giant wave that followed.

The quake and tsunami also crippled power generation facilities, including a nuclear power plant at the centre of an ongoing atomic emergency.

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According to Jiji Press, Japan’s overall domestic production in August rose 1.7 percent to a combined 670,837 units, the first gain since the disaster.

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