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Toyota hits record annual output, sales on robust demand

Toyota celebrates the production of 10 million Yaris cars in Valenciennes

TOKYO (Reuters) -Toyota Motor said on Thursday its global sales and production hit record highs in the year ended March 31, supported by robust demand and the absence of semiconductor supply constraints it had to endure in recent years.

Still, Toyota plans to delay the start of its electric vehicle (EV) production in the U.S. and trim domestic production to ensure product safety and quality after a series of scandals at its group firms, the Mid Japan Economist newspaper said.

For the year ended March, Toyota said its parent-only global sales rose 7.3% to 10.31 million units year-on-year, surpassing the 10 million mark for the first time, while its output came to 9.97 million units, up 9.2% on the year.

The world's largest automaker by volume, however, saw its sales and production fall in March amid fierce competition in China, the world's largest auto market.

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Toyota's global sales in March slid 2.1% from a year earlier to 897,251 units, and its output declined 10.3% to 807,026 units.

Its global battery EV sales in the year ended March jumped more than threefold to 116,654 units.

Toyota plans to push back the start of its EV production in the U.S. to the spring of 2026, from the original plan of 2025, according to the newspaper report, which added that the automaker plans to intentionally set up a "pause" period in its business to ensure quality and safety.

Toyota officials were not immediately available to comment.

Shares of the company were trading down about 3% at 3,509 yen in mid-afternoon in Tokyo.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)