TOKYO - Toyota sold more Toyota-brand vehicles in the U.S. market in January than it did at home, even though its sales in Japan were up 13.5 percent over a year earlier.
It's not the first time it has happened. And combined sales by Toyota Motor Corp. and its Daihatsu Motor Co. subsidiary in Japan still surpassed combined sales of Toyota and Lexus brands in the United States.
Still, Toyota posted above-average sales in Japan in January, a month that some observers thought showed signs of the long-awaited turnaround in the Japanese market.
Toyota sold 108,167 cars and trucks in Japan last month compared with 114,866 in the United States. The combined Toyota and Daihatsu sales total in Japan was 145,498 compared with 128,123 for Toyota and Lexus in the United States.
A year ago, the situation was different. Toyota's Japan sales topped its U.S. sales in January 1999, 95,395 to 83,035.
Toyota's U.S. sales often have topped Japan in May and August, two of the weakest car-sales months in Japan because of the Golden Week and Obon holidays, respectively.