Toyota again displayed its new muscle in June, with strengthened inventories after last year’s disaster in its home country of Japan, turning in an eye-popping 54.3% U.S. sales gain.

In May, Toyota’s U.S. sales surged 72.9%.

The auto maker delivered 177,795 cars and trucks last month, compared with year-ago. There were 27 selling days last month compared with 26 in like-2011.

Toyota’s year-over-year sales improvement in June easily led an industry delivering a better-than-expected month on an annualized basis. Honda was the closest competitor with deliveries up 43.3% on daily sales rate basis.

Toyota’s bread-and-butter Camry and Corolla passenger cars carried the day in June. Camry sales, including its hybrid model, jumped 44.6% to 32,107 units.

Corolla deliveries climbed 34.8% to 25,860 units. Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager-Toyota Div., says there is more room for Corolla to grow.

“We could have sold more if we had them at dealers,” he says during a conference call with journalists today to discuss the sales results.

Prius deliveries also shook off the year-ago inventory woes, with the volume-model hybrid up 228.3% to 14,798 units. The Prius also proved again in June it can sell when gas prices soften, as has been the case at filling stations across the country in recent weeks.

On the light-truck side, sales of the Highlander cross/utility vehicle rose 36.3% to 10,379 units and deliveries of the RAV4 CUV spiked 60% to a record 15,129.

The tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan last year crippled Toyota’s suppliers. The lack of parts crimped the auto maker’s ability to build enough cars and trucks around the world to meet demand, and sales suffered.

Whopping year-ago comparisons reflect how Toyota can be a power player in the market with healthy inventories. Just five of the 45 models it sells in the U.S. lost ground in June, and four of those declines were statistically insignificant.

Scion sales jumped last month to 8,400 units, up 134%, for its best month since August 2008, bolstered by the arrival of the all-new FR-S small coupe.

Lexus sales spiked 79% to 20,022 units, with the new GS sedan and RX CUV giving the luxury brand legs.

Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager-Lexus Div., says the performance puts the auto maker “right on track” to meeting its goal of becoming the fastest-growing nameplate in the industry.

Carter says Toyota’s fleet sales normalized in June to 8.7% after spending most of the year’s first half at much higher levels as the auto maker fulfilled deliveries postponed by its inventory shortages.

“You’ll see us end the year where we’ve consistently been in that 8% to 9% rate,” he says.

Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands, combined, eclipsed the 1 million-unit sales mark for 2012 in the final week of June, a feat the auto maker did not perform until the third week of August last year.

jamend@wardsauto.com