Japanese carmakers avoid downturn in west

Japan's top three carmakers produced a record number of vehicles globally last month, highlighting the resilience of the Japanese car industry in the face of a higher yen, soaring oil prices and slowing economic activity in key markets. Toyota said January production for the group, which includes Daihatsu, the mini-vehicle maker, and Hino, the truckmaker, rose 8.2 per cent to a record 801,873. Japan's largest vehicle maker is experiencing strong demand in emerging markets, such as China, India and Russia, which has more than offset slight weaknesses in the US and Europe.