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Toyota's half-year global output rises 4.2 percent

Toyota’s global auto production in the first-half rose 4.2 percent from a year ago, so it came closer to overtaking General Motor Corp. as the world's biggest automaker.

For the first six months of the year, Toyota and its group companies made 4.71 million vehicles worldwide.

GM projects that its global production will reach 4.75 million vehicles for the six-month period, based on 2.34 million units made in the first quarter and projected output of 2.41 million in the second, according to GM Japan Ltd. spokeswoman Ayako Uchida.

General Motors plans to release half-year production figures on July 31, when it announces earnings, she said.

Many analysts project that Toyota will surpass GM in global automobile output by year-end, which would give it the title of world's biggest automaker, dethroning the Detroit-based manufacturer after 76 years.

By sales, Toyota already has the lead so far this year. It sold 4.72 million vehicles during January-June, compared to 4.67 million for GM, according to preliminary figures from both companies released last week.

Thanks to strong demand for its Camry, Lexus and hybrid vehicles, Toyota said Thursday its second-quarter output rose 5.8 percent to 2.34 million units, after making 2.37 million in the first quarter.

Most of the Japanese company's production growth came from factories overseas, where output rose 8.3 percent during the first-half, while domestic output inched up 1.0 percent.

In June, Toyota Motor Corp.'s output rose 3.3 percent to 819,252 units - nearly evenly divided between domestic and overseas production.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's second-biggest automaker, said global production rose 7.6 percent to 1.956 million vehicles in the first-half, with overseas output totaling 1.280 million vehicles. Domestic production climbed 4.4 percent to 675,817 vehicles in the period.

Honda's popular models included the Fit subcompact, CR-V sport utility vehicle and Civic. In June, its global production rose 4.0 percent to 340,400 vehicles.

At Nissan Motor Co., first-half production edged up 0.1 percent to 1.65 million vehicles. Overseas production rose 9.1 percent while domestic output fell 14.3 percent. June production slipped 0.3 percent to 275,651 vehicles, said Nissan, 44 percent owned by Renault SA of France.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said worldwide production increased 3.8 percent to 693,801 for the first half, while June output rose 7.4 percent to 117,314 vehicles.

Mazda Motor Corp., an affiliate of Ford Motor Co. of the United States, said global output for the first-half fell 5.5 percent to 623,299 vehicles. June production dropped 10.6 percent to 102,109 vehicles

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