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Auto Industry

Japan's Toyota sets new 12-month sales record

Japanese carmaker Toyota has said it has sold a record number of vehicles in the year to March. The company noted the sales boost was in no small way due to last-minute buying ahead of a VAT hike in the country.

Toyota announced Wednesday it sold more than 10 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending in March, marking an all-time record for any 12-month period in the company's history and most likely outshining all of its rivals, with final figures from competitors not yet available.

The Japanese auto maker said it shifted 10.13 million units in the period under review, a rise of 4.5 percent year-on-year.

The firm's closest rivals, General Motors and Volkswagen, report their sales on a calendar-year-basis, but market analysts argued it was unlikely they had sold more than 10 million cars in any 12-month period.

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Yet another Toyota recall

"Rush demand ahead of a consumption tax increase in April led to strong sales in Japan for us," Toyota said in a statement, indicating sales also picked up markedly in overseas markets, including China, the world's biggest car market.

Japan raised its national sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent on April 1, the first levy hike since the late 1990s and meant to help bring down the nation's huge debt burden.

Toyota has been trying hard to regain some of the reputation is used to have in terms of quality and reliability when frequent recalls over all sorts of technical defects were not yet part of the firm's corporate identity. Only two weeks ago, the carmaker recalled well over six million vehicles globally over a string of issues, dealing another blow to the company's image at home and farther afield.

hg/hc (AFP, dpa)

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