Toyota Motor Europe (TME) increased sales 12% year on year to 870,079 units in the period from January to September 2006.

TME's overall market share for the first nine months was also up 0.5 percentage points to 5.8%, and it posted its best ever September sales with 110,306 units (+17% year on year) with a market share up a percentage point to 6.4%.

Reflecting new models and a long-awaited diesel option for the entry-level IS series, the Lexus brand's nine-month sales rose 97% to 39,906 units.

In the nine-month period, Toyota produced 522,942 cars, 646,989 engines and 424,537 transmissions at its plants in the UK, France, Turkey, Poland and the Czech Republic.

For 2006, Toyota has set a 1.1m unit target in combined sales - including 48,000 units in Lexus brand sales.

Operating at record volumes, Toyota's European capacity for 2006 is 806,000 cars, 860,000 engines and 575,000 transmissions.

The Toyota brand enjoyed best ever September sales of the Yaris (26,042 units; +18% year on year); the RAV4 (13,146 units; + 31%) and best ever monthly sales of the Aygo (10,152 units). Meanwhile, sales of the hybrid Prius achieved a monthly record in September (2,895 units; +30%).

Strong sales of the Lexus brand's IS and RX models helped overall sales to almost double in the January - September period. Lexus Hybrid Drive made a real impact, as sales of the RX 400h (9,345 units) and GS 450h (1,343 units) represented almost 27% of total sales. Meanwhile, diesel sales represented 23% of total Lexus brand sales, thanks to the IS220d (9,270 units).

For the January to September period, the U.K. was TME's largest national market in Europe, with 113,711 units sold (-1% year on year), followed by Germany (105,252 units; +7%), Italy (100,041 units; +3%) and France (75,904 units; +12%).

The highest growth market was Russia - Toyota's fifth-largest market - where sales rose 53% to 73,268 units.