Japanese car maker Toyota has posted a 29% rise in quarterly net profit as car sales to the US raced ahead.
Toyota notched up record US market share
Toyota, whose strong showing in the US market meant it overtook Ford as the world's second biggest car-maker in 2003, raised its annual sales forecast.
Toyota made a net profit of 286.6bn yen ($2.6bn; £1.4bn) for April to June.
Meanwhile, profits at small car specialist Suzuki sprinted ahead 31% for the quarter, but Mitsubishi Motor's shares crashed 12% on falling sales.
Winners and losers
Shares in Mitsubishi dived as investors took stock of industry sales figures showing that July sales at Japan's only unprofitable car maker were 60% lower than in the same month of 2003.
Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's fourth largest car maker has become tainted by scandal, having been forced to recall some models to check for faults that have been linked to fatal accidents.
By contrast, the road ahead for Toyota looks relatively trouble free.
Total sales grew 10.2% to $4.5 trillion yen.
In the vital North American market, it clocked up record quarterly sales of 572,000 and its best ever market share of 12%.
Toyota is the world number two carmaker
Sales grew strongly in Asia - up 65% excluding Japan and China - and were robust in Europe, where it sold 247,000 vehicles, or an extra 13,000 on the same period a year earlier.
Only in Japan did Toyota's sales slip back a gear, but its market share climbed comfortably.
Total sales dropped down 5,092 to 5338,265, while market share was a record 46.1%.
Toyota is now predicting it will shift 7.2 million vehicles worldwide in the 12 months to April 2005, which is 180,000 more than its last forecast, and compares with sales of 6.7 million in its last full year.
"We've got off to a good start," said Takeshi Suzuki, Toyota's senior managing director, speaking of the forthcoming financial year.
Green and clean
Toyota plans to boost output of its Prius sedan, an eco-friendly hybrid that can switch between a petrol engine and electric motor. It believes that demand is strong enough to justify raising output by 50% to 15,000 of the cars a month in the first half of next year.
And while Toyota feted its success in North America, small-car specialist Suzuki set a fast pace in Europe, where its sales grew 30%.
Suzuki posted quarterly net profits of 16.5bn yen, up 31% on year-earlier.
Total sales grew more slowly, up 5.1% to 587.3bn yen.
Suzuki, which is 20% owned by General Motors, left its full-year forecasts unchanged.
It is aiming to raise its share of the global market to 15% within a decade from its current 12%.