NAGOYA, Japan: American's love affair with Toyota continues apace. In the first ten months of 2006 the Japanese auto titan exported over one million units to the United States - surpassing the previous full-year record notched in 1986.

The company's export tally at October 30 was an eyewatering 1,033,545 autos shipped into the US from Japan and other Asian manufacturing sites. That figure is 44.1% up year-on-year and represents around half the company's US sales during the ten month period.

Including US-manufactured models, Toyota's unit sales stateside increased 12.2% in the January-October period, putting the company on course to overtake Chrysler as America's third largest auto marque by the year end.

Uncomfortably conscious of the trade backlash in the mid-1980s when US sentiment against foreign - especially Japanese - imports reached fever pitch, Toyota now operates seven assembly plants in North America and is finalizing the site for an eighth unit.

Moreover, the company intends to increase its North American annual production capacity from this year's 1.75m units to 2.02m. But January-October sales in its own back yard are sluggish, down year-on-year by 0.9% to around 1.44m units.

Data sourced from Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff