Net profit at Toyota Motor rose over 30% in the latest financial year thanks to strong sales in Japan and the United States, Associated Press (AP) reported.

Toyota today announced a 615.8 billion yen ($US4.8 billion) profit for the financial year ending in March, up from 471 billion yen a year ago, AP said. Sales of 15 trillion yen ($118 billion) were the company's best ever and up 12% from 13 trillion yen the previous year, the news agency added.

AP said that the favourable exchange rate added 410 billion yen ($3.2 billion) to Toyota's earnings while cost reduction efforts saved an extra 260 billion yen ($2 billion).

Toyota sold 5.78 million vehicles in fiscal 2001, up from 5.52 million in 2000, AP said. Japanese sales rose nearly 5% to 10.5 trillion yen ($82 billion) while sales in North America rose 17.5% to 5.8 trillion yen ($46 billion), AP added.

European improved 52% to 1.6 trillion yen ($12.6 billion) but Toyota has yet to make a profit in the region, AP said.

Toyota produced 1.37 million cars overseas in fiscal 2001, AP said, up nearly 17% from 1.18 million the previous year.

Japanese production fell almost 2% to 4.03 million vehicles from 4.1 million, AP added.