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Toyota Motor Corp on Friday said global production climbed 30% in the quarter ended in September, but warned the shortages of semiconductors and other parts that have roiled the auto industry would still constrain output in coming months.
Toyota produced 887,733 vehicles globally in September, a record for a single month and a jump of 73% from the same month a year earlier. A spokesperson cautioned Toyota did not see the gains in September output as sustainable and told reporters, "We would avoid calling this a recovery."
In the July to September quarter, global sales were up 4%, according to a Reuters calculation based on the company's disclosures.
For the first half of the business year starting in April, Toyota produced 4,481,600 vehicles worldwide. That was up 10% on the year, but still 5% short of the automaker's initial plans.
The announcement came a week after Toyota said it was unlikely to meet its 9.7 million vehicle production goal for this financial year due to a scarcity of chips. It did not provide a new forecast.
"Although Toyota recently said there was a strong possibility of a downward revision to the 9.7 million goal, the level of production itself has been rising when compared to the previous year," said Seiji Sugiura, a senior analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.
"So while the number of vehicles isn't what Toyota has hoped for, I believe it is moving toward a recovery in production," Sugiura said. "For now, we should see sales coming back with production."
Reuters reported on Thursday Toyota had told several suppliers it was setting a global target for the current business year to 9.5 million vehicles and signalled that forecast could be lowered, depending on the supply of steel.
For Toyota to hit that revised target, production in the second half would have to be about 12% higher than the previous six months, based on reported results.
One Toyota supplier, Aichi Steel Corp 5482.T, expects the vehicle production target to be around the low 9 million level, its president Takahiro Fujioka said during an earnings call on Friday.
The spokesperson declined to comment on a new production target.
Shortages of semiconductors have hit Toyota's production in Japan harder than its overseas factories, Toyota said. For the quarter through September, Toyota's domestic production was up just 10%.
Toyota is scheduled to report quarterly earnings results on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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