Japan’s five major carmakers all increased global production in the January-June period, supported by strong overseas demand, according to reports released Monday by the firms.

Toyota Motor Corp. reported record worldwide sales of 2.98 million cars and commercial vehicles in the first half of 2003, up 7.6 percent from the same period last year.

The firm’s domestic output rose by 3.1 percent to 1.77 million units, up for the second straight year. Overseas output meanwhile jumped 14.8 percent to 1.21 million units, due to increased production in Europe and other parts of Asia.

Thanks to brisk demand in North America, Europe and the rest of Asia, Honda Motor Co.’s global output rose 3.9 percent on a year-on-year basis to a record 1.5 million units in the six-month period, while its overseas production leaped 21.1 percent to 919,575 units.

Reflecting gloomy sales at home, however, Honda’s domestic production plunged 15.2 percent to 579,939 units, marking the first year-on-year drop in four years. Its sales during the first half in Japan plummeted 20.4 percent to 373,214 units.

Nissan Motor Co. reported that its global production rose 6.8 percent to 1.44 million vehicles. Its domestic production jumped 10.6 percent to 734,934 units, while its overseas output rose 3.1 percent to 700,727 units.

In the case of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., increased car production in China pushed up its overseas output to 450,638 units, up 4 percent from the previous year, although its domestic output fell 1.5 percent to 366,282 units.

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