Toyota has officially reclaimed its ranking as the world’s top automaker.
Toyota Motor Corp. released its tally for global vehicle sales for last year Monday at a record 9.748 million vehicles, which is a bigger number than the estimate it gave last month of about 9.7 million vehicles.
Detroit’s General Motors Co. had been the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. GM retook the sales crown in 2011, when Toyota’s production was hurt by the quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
Global vehicle sales for the maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury model increased by nearly 23 per cent from the previous year. Overseas sales jumped 19 per cent, while sales in Japan – where the economy has been troubled – recovered by 35 per cent.
Volkswagen AG of Germany, the world’s No. 3 automaker, sold a record 9.1 million vehicles around the world.
Toyota’s troubles had been considerable. Like other Japanese automakers, Toyota’s production was devastated by the March 2011 disasters, which disrupted supplies of crucial components. Flooding in Thailand, where Toyota has factories, also hurt car production. Before that, it struggled against a crisis of massive recalls in the U.S. over defective floor mats, gas pedals and brakes, involving millions of vehicles, some recalled over and over, that hurt its reputation for quality. And then, in the middle of last year, it was hit by another kind of problem: a widespread boycott of Japanese products, including Toyota cars, in China over a territorial dispute.
But sales growth in other parts of the world, including the U.S. and Asian nations such as Indonesia and India, was more than enough to offset such losses.
Toyota is planning to sell 9.91 million vehicles globally in 2013, putting it back on track toward its earlier goal of 10 million vehicles, a target that it had made a special effort to play down after its recall crisis.