Japanese car major Toyota Motors today said that it expects North American vehicle production levels to return to 100 percent in September. Production is recovering earlier than originally anticipated following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

On average, current production has improved to more than 80 percent through August. Eight of the company's 12 North American-built models returned to 100 percent production on June 6, the carmaker said in a statement.

After September we will focus on making-up lost production as much as possible, said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America.  Our team members and suppliers here and in Japan have worked tirelessly to get us back to 100 percent, overcoming many challenges. The effort in Japan has been incredible, especially in the midst of such tragedy and devastation.

Toyota Motors North America currently operates 14 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. There are more than 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold more than 2 million vehicles in 2010. Toyota directly employs more than 35,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals nearly $25 billion.