Toyota's global production last year rose 10% to 9.018m vehicles, narrowing the gap with General Motors when Japanese subsidiaries that make trucks and smaller models were included - its fifth straight year of growth.

According to the Associated Press (AP), GM and its group automakers produced 9.18m vehicles worldwide in 2006 - about 162,000 vehicles more than its Japanese rival.

AP noted that Toyota late last year set a global production target of 9.42m vehicles for this year, which is likely to put it ahead of GM, which does not announce production targets for the full year ahead.

Other automaker data cited by the news agency said Honda Motor had surpassed Nissan Motor to rise to Japan's second largest automaker in annual global vehicle production.

Honda had been ranked second among Japanese automakers in 2003, but fell to third in the last few years, the report noted.

Global production at Nissan fell 7.7% in 2006 to 3.24m vehicles, while Honda's worldwide production last year rose 6.6% to 3.63m vehicles.

Output at Mitsubishi Motors last year slipped 3.6% to 1.31m vehicles, the Associated Press added.