Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 11:21 UK

Japanese auto production picks up

Toyota truck on sale in California
Japanese car makers are faring better than their US rivals

Global vehicle production by Japan's top three automakers picked up in July, reflecting strong demand despite the global economic slowdown.

Some analysts say Nissan, Toyota and Honda are benefitting from their reputation for fuel-efficient models as drivers face high petrol prices.

Toyota said its global production totalled 720,923 vehicles in July, up 9% from a year ago.

Nissan saw production jump 27% and Honda reported an 18% rise.

Japanese car makers have been faring better than their US rivals as drivers switch from SUVs to smaller, more fuel-efficient models.

Earlier this month, Toyota reported a 28% fall in net profits for the second quarter to 353.7bn yen ($3.2bn; 1.6bn), down from a record 491.5bn yen in the same period of last year.

However, this paled in comparison to the massive losses sustained by its US rivals.

General Motors recently reported a $15.5bn quarterly loss and Ford's three-month loss was $8.7bn.

While US sales have slowed, Toyota has seen sales in countries such as Russia and China rise.

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