updated 5/25/2005 7:48:54 AM ET 2005-05-25T11:48:54

Japan’s three biggest automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., said Wednesday that global output rose in April from a year ago, due to strong demand at home and overseas for new car, truck and bus models.

Mazda Motor Corp. also reported a modest uptick in worldwide production but struggling Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s output shrank, hit by its recent spate of recalls.

Toyota said global production of cars, trucks and buses surged 9.9 percent to 604,698 in April — the fourth straight month of gains — from 550,254 vehicles in April 2004. This year’s data break down to 315,440 vehicles made in Japan and 289,258 made at the company’s factories overseas.

Japan’s No. 1 automaker said robust sales at home — where it has 48.3 percent market share — rising exports to North America and the Middle East as well as ramped-up production of Corolla compact sedans in Europe and Brazil, Tacoma trucks in Mexico and Avalon luxury sedans in the U.S. state of Kentucky.

Nissan said output jumped 10.4 percent to 288,954 vehicles, from 261,352 in April 2004 due to brisk demand for Fuga luxury sedans, Tiida and Note compact hatchbacks at home and the new Pathfinder sport-utility vehicle in the United States and Spain and the Micra compact in Britain.

Honda also reported gains with global production rising 9.6 percent to 276,766 vehicles in April, from 252,414 the previous year. Honda said exports of the Jazz compact to Europe drove output at domestic plants, while overseas production was strongest in Asia and the United States.

Among Japan’s smaller auto makers, Mazda excelled, posting a 5.8 percent output rise to 96,551 vehicles, from 91,291. Domestic output rose on big sales of Premacy vans and the Axela 3 series compact.

However, Mitsubishi Motor’s woes continued, with production at plants worldwide falling 13.1 percent to 100,846 vehicles. The automaker this week reported 474.8 billion yen ($4.4 billion) in losses last year for the second straight year, as the scandal-ridden company struggles to regain customer trust and sales in the wake of a defect cover-up scandal.

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