Toyota Regains Worlds Top Selling Automaker Title

A model stands next to Japanese car maker Toyota’s logo at the 3rd Philippine International Motor Show in Manila on August 19, 2010. Around 20 brands were participating in the show, expected to attract thousands of visitors, with hundreds of vehicles on show. (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama claimed all throughout the 2012 presidential election that his quick thinking and tough decisions helped put General Motors back on top. However, even if he’s right, it wasn’t enough to stop Toyota from grabbing back the title of “world’s top-selling automaker.”

“The Japanese company sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2012, although it’s still counting. GM sold 9.29 million,” the Associated Press reports.

“Both companies saw higher sales, but Toyota’s growth was far larger as it rolled out new versions of popular models like the Camry. GM executives promised sales growth this year, especially in the U.S. Both companies say publicly that they don’t care about who wins, but concede that the crown is an important morale booster for employees,” the report adds.

Considering everything Japan has been through since 2011 (i.e. an earthquake and a tsunami!), Toyota’s resurgence is really quite remarkable.

“GM was the top-selling carmaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008,” the AP report notes.

“But GM retook the sales crown in 2011 when Toyota’s factories were slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The disaster left Toyota dealers with few cars to sell. The company has since recovered,” it adds.

Toyota’s comeback from natural disaster is only part of the story, Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area industry forecasting firm, tells the AP, adding that although GM’s global sales may have risen 2.9 percent last year, Toyota’s have sales have increased by 22 percent.

Schuster also believes the launch of a new Corolla will keep Toyota in the lead.

“I think that’s going to be enough to keep them in their position,” he says.

And Toyota isn’t the only company keeping GM on its toes: The automaker is “also contending with a stronger Volkswagen. It narrowly edged out the fast-growing German company for second place in 2012. VW sold a record 9.1 million vehicles.”

“Schuster expects GM to hold off Volkswagen in 2013. That’s because VW has more of a presence in Europe, where sales are falling as the region struggles with high unemployment and weak economies,” the AP report adds.

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This post has been updated. Featured image courtesy Getty Images.