TOKYO -- Hybrid vehicles helped lift Toyota Motor Corp.'s exports to North America in the second quarter.
Toyota's exports to North America rose 20 percent in the three months ended June 30 compared with the year-ago period. Toyota shipped about 31,000 Priuses to North America in the quarter, about 13 percent of its shipments to North America.
Hybrid SUVs - the Lexus RX 400h and Toyota Highlander - also contributed to the gains. A hybrid uses a gasoline engine and one or more electric motors to power the wheels.
Shipments of Scion vehicles also helped boost Toyota's exports.
Mazda Motor Corp.'s exports to North America for the quarter jumped 17.4 percent with help of a new minivan to the U.S. lineup, the Mazda5. The six-seat minivan, a remodeled Premacy in Japan, was launched in North America in July.
Mazda plans to sell about 20,000 Mazda5's a year in North America.
This month Mazda will launch a redesigned MX-5 in North America.
Honda Motor Co. raised its exports to North America by 7.3 percent. The Acura RL, redesigned last fall, and Accord hybrid, launched last December, contributed to the gains. This fall, a redesigned hybrid Civic should boost Honda's exports further.
Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reduced shipments to North America.
Shifting production of the Pathfinder SUV to the Smyrna, Tenn., plant from Japan was the major reason for a 12.5 percent drop in Nissan's exports.
Mitsubishi's shipments fell 13.8 percent.
Overall, Japan's second-quarter shipments to North America climbed 8.6 percent to 460,218. Its exports to the United States rose 6.8 percent to 408,071.
The North American increase more than offset an 8.3 percent drop in Japan's exports to Europe, to 276,869. As a result, Japan's overall second-quarter exports rose 3.9 percent to 1,246,827. Its exports for the first six months gained 2.8 percent to 2,458,068.
The robust exports also helped increase Japan's production for the second quarter to 2,609,119, up 2.9 percent.
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