TOKYO (AFP) - Crisis-hit automaker Toyota said on Monday that global sales surged 26.3 percent year-on-year in March, despite millions of safety recalls worldwide, as the industry rebounds from the economic slump. Other Japanese makers such as Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Mazda also reported sales and production rises for the month, partly helped by a low basis of comparison with last year when the industry was hit by the financial crisis. The March figures showed gradual recovery in the Japanese auto industry in general, said Tatsuya Mizuno, an auto analyst at Mizuno Credit Advisory. The upward trend is likely to continue for the rest of the year as brighter signs of a global economic recovery are benefiting the auto industry. The Toyota group, which includes brands Daihatsu and Hino trucks, said it sold 876,126 vehicles in March, up from 693,759 a year earlier, spokesman Paul Nolasco said. Toyota also said global production jumped 82.2 percent in March to 860,534 units compared with a year ago, when the industry scaled back to cope with evaporating demand. Shares in Toyota closed up 3.36pc in Tokyo trade Monday. However, Mizuno warned that despite signs of recovery Toyota is surrounded by a lot of uncertainty, and the negative impact of its recalls is likely to linger. The auto giant is looking to restore its battered reputation after recalling around 10m vehicles worldwide, mostly for problems with sudden acceleration which have been blamed for 58 deaths in the US. The recall crisis triggered a ratings downgrade by Moodys over concerns that product quality issues and the cost of litigation will dent Toyotas future profitability. Last week the company agreed to pay a 16.4-million-dollar fine, the largest for an automaker in the United States, for hiding for at least four months the accelerator pedal defects. As it looks to restore its tarnished image, recent sales incentives in the United States such as zero-percent financing on recalled models and low lease rates helped push March US sales up 40.7 percent on-year. Toyotas climbing sales chime with a worldwide rebound for car manufacturers after last years lows caused by the global economic downturn, with demand boosted by cost cuts and government stimulus measures. Japans third-largest car maker Nissan saw global sales climb 39.2 percent to 431,681 units in March, with US sales up 43.4 percent and those in Europe 26.7 percent higher. Honda, the second-largest after Toyota in Japan, said Monday that worldwide production in March soared 61.9 percent to 349,425 units, while Mazda saw output more than double to 121,161 units, up 110.6 percent on-year. Neither gave worldwide sales figures. Mitsubishi, which vies with Mazda as Japans fourth-largest maker, said global production spiked 102.4 percent higher in the same period. Weve seen signs of recovery in sales and production of Japanese automakers since late last year, said Ryoichi Saito, auto analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities. Sales have been particularly boosted by strong Asian markets, driven by China and its swift recovery from the global economic downturn, added Saito.