Toyota New Car Sales Up Amid Recalls

Toyota Motor Corp. saw its new car sales grow last month despite its massive global recalls, helping to buoy Japan's overall new vehicle sales from a year earlier, according to industry figures released Monday.

Sales of Toyota passenger cars stood at 136,682 units in February, up 53 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

Toyota recalled 8.5 million cars worldwide since October for sticky gas pedals, faulty floor mats and glitches in braking software.

In Japan, the automaker recalled 223,000 cars, mostly the top-selling 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid, but also two other hybrid models, the Lexus HS250h sedan and the Sai.

Prius was the top-selling car in January, followed by Honda Motor Co.'s fuel-efficient Fit hatchback, according to the association's monthly ranking.

Sales of the Lexus hybrid made a 3.5-fold increase to 3,373 units in February, Kyodo News agency said, adding most orders for the model came before Toyota's recalls last month.

Overall, new vehicle sales in Japan rose 35 percent for the month to 294,887 units, marking the seventh straight month of increase, buoyed by the government's tax incentives for environmentally friendly vehicles. The figure also was an improvement from poor sales last year when the economy was in a deeper slump.
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