Toyota back on top as world’s biggest automaker

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Toyota has regained the title of world’s biggest automaker on Monday, as the company’s sales for 2012 beat General Motors’, which held the distinction in 2011.

Last year’s global sales for the Japan-based firm, which also included shipments from its subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd., jumped 23 per cent to a record 9.75 million units. That figure compares with GM’s 9.29 million and Volkswagen’s 9.07 million units sold.

GM continues to be the dominant player in two of the world’s biggest auto markets, China and the U.S., although Toyota is way ahead in its home market in Japan, where non-Japanese brands often face difficulty competing because of limited dealerships.

The Camry sedan maker is banking on increased demand in the U.S. to stay on track with its projected 9.91 million units of annual sales for 2013, with the help of a weakening yen that makes its cars more competitive against rival South Korean carmakers like Hyundai Motor Co.

The Toyota City, Japan-based company currently holds third place in terms of sales in the key U.S. market behind GM and Ford. Toyota lost the second place ranking to Ford in 2010 following a series of recall problems that prompted the company to temporarily halt the sale of some of its popular models.

A recovery in its Chinese market may also boost Toyota’s sales as demand at home is expected to drop after the expiration of government incentives in September.

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