updated 12/26/2007 8:18:18 AM ET 2007-12-26T13:18:18

Toyota Motor Corp. — on pace to overtake General Motors as the world's biggest automaker — said Wednesday its global production climbed 9.2 percent in November.

Four other major Japanese car companies also reported overall production gains for the month.

Toyota said its worldwide production rose to 803,663 vehicles in November, while its domestic output rose 2.6 percent to 395,788 units.

For the first 11 months, Toyota made 7.9 million vehicles around the world, up 5.7 percent. Domestic output rose 1.2 percent to 3.9 million units.

Toyota's growth been based in large part on the popularity of models such as the Camry sedan, Corolla subcompact and the Prius gas-electric hybrid. Soaring gas prices and greater consumer concerns about the environment have boosted the appeal of smaller, fuel-efficient models that are Toyota's main strength.

General Motors Corp., meanwhile, is boosting its overseas business and could yet maintain the top industry spot which it has held for 76 years.

Toyota global sales for the first nine months of this year totaled 7.05 million vehicles, short of the 7.06 million sold by Detroit-based GM for the same period, according to official figures from the companies. Toyota estimates its sales for the year will total 9.36 million vehicles, while GM projects 9.3 million.

Honda Motor Co., Japan's second-largest automaker, set a company record for monthly output in November, with worldwide output rising 10.4 percent to 363,046 from the same month last year.

That performance came as production outside of Japan rose 20.5 percent to 243,777 vehicles — an all-time record for any month — while domestic production fell 5.7 percent to 119,269.

Honda posted monthly output records in North America, up 7.5 percent to 128,364 vehicles, and in Europe, up 58.7 percent to 24,128 units.

Nissan Motor Co. said its global production grew 14.9 percent to 335,088 vehicles.

Nissan, 44 percent owned by Renault SA of France, reported a 13.9 percent rise in overseas output to 211,356 units. In the U.S., Nissan's production rose 4.5 percent to 67,687 vehicles, buyoed by an increase in production of the Altima model.

Nissan's domestic output grew 16.5 percent to 123,732 units, helped by gain in production of the Infiniti G35 sedan, G37 coupe and new Rogue and X-Trail models.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said its global production rose 6.8 percent to 126,851 vehicles, marking the ninth straight month of increase. Overseas output rose 7.8 percent, while domestic production climbed 6.2 percent, it said.

At Mazda Motor Corp., global production climbed 6.6 percent to 122,591 vehicles. A 12.5 percent rise in domestic output offset a 10.8 percent decline in overseas output.

Mazda, an affiliate of Ford Motor Co., said its overseas production totaled 26,091 vehicles, with popular models including the Mazda6 and Mazda3.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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