Toyota Speeds Past GM to Grab the Global Auto Sales Crown Again

The 2013 Toyota Avalon. (Getty Images)By TOM KRISHER

DETROIT -- Toyota (TM) has dethroned General Motors (GM) as the 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. Both companies saw higher sales.

GM was the top-selling carmaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. 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.

Toyota's comeback from the earthquake and flooding in Thailand is only part of the story, says Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area industry forecasting firm. The company also has rolled out new vehicles, such as the revamped midsize Camry, the most popular vehicle in the United States.

GM's global sales were up 2.9 percent last year. Toyota sales rose 22 percent.

Schuster expects Toyota to keep the lead over GM this year as it launches a new Corolla.

"I think that's going to be enough to keep them in their position," he said.

GM is also contending with a stronger Volkswagen (VLKAY). It narrowly edged out the fast-growing German company for second place in 2012, when VW sold a record 9.1 million vehicles.

Volkswagen, with fast-selling vehicles like the Passat midsize sedan and Jetta compact, closed in on GM with an 11 percent sales increase across the globe. The United States, where VW Group sales rose 34 percent, led the way.

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

GM has said in the past that it's more concerned with profitable growth than the global sales race.




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redwingirish

Can't imagine ANYONE buying a TOYYOYO. It's like taking home an ugly woman...you still have to look at her the next morning!

January 14 2013 at 2:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to redwingirish's comment
Cool Hand

How would she look to you if she paid you a 40% return on your investment (approximate increase in value of a share of Toyota stock last year)?

January 14 2013 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cool Hand's comment
redwingirish

I have never known any man who's gotten a 40% return on a woman, but even if you could get that...UGLY is still UGLY!

January 14 2013 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
kpamesa

It's NOT rocket science - if a product is superior in all ways, and is equal or less expensive, it WINS. Just because Obama bailed out the unions, doesn't mean that the overall concept of the vehicles improved or worsened. A vehicle is only as good as the engineer designed and labor built.

January 14 2013 at 1:29 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to kpamesa's comment
George

I have two Chevy Cobalts, a 4 door and a 2 door. I really like them, they get good gas mileage, and have all the stuff I like in a car. I don't really care what people buy, if you like Toyota, then buy one, but I'm happy with the cars I have. I owned Ford cars before I bought my Chevys, and I liked my Fords, but when I looked for a car, the Cobalt really stood out. I'm looking at the Chevy Sonic possibly for my next car, but it's going to be a few years yet.

January 14 2013 at 12:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Cool Hand

Drove Jeeps for 35 years, mostly Grand Cherokees lately. Bought my first Toyota (Venza) last year, and I'm very impressed with the quality, ride, options, and great service. It's in the same price class, but a much better vehicle. I'll definitely buy another...

January 14 2013 at 12:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Johnny

I DROVE GENERAL MOTORS PRODUCTS FOR FORTY PLUS YEARS. I LOVED THEM AND ENJOYED THE QUALITY THAT WAS IN THEM. THIS CHANGED IN 1997, I BOUGHT MY FIRST TOYOTA PRODUCT AND IT IS THE BEST CAR THAT I'VE EVER OWNED. MADE IN AMERICA, PROVIDING JOBS FOR AMERICA AND WITH QUALITY THAT GM LOST DURING THE EIGHTIES. I MAINTAINED MY OWN VEHICLES AND NEVER GOT LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES ON MY GM PRODUCTS. IN WHICH TIME I USUALLY DID TEN TUNE UPS, TRANSMISSION REPAIR,ALTERNATORS AND ETC. MY 1997 TOYOTA AVALON IS GOING ON SIXTEEN YEARS OLD, NO MAJOR REPAIR, ORIGINAL ALTERNATOR,STARTER, FUEL INJECTION SYSTEM, TRANSMISSION, AC SYSTEM, ETC. AND HAS OVER TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND TROUBLE FREE MILES. GENERAL MOTORS DIDN'T GIVE ME THAT TYPE OF SERVICE. I NOW OWN A TUNDRA AND LEXUS, AND ALSO THE 1997 AVALON WHICH I DRIVE CROSS COUNTRY AT LEAST FIVE TIMES ANNUALLY. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS TYPE OF SERVICE? I'VE NEVER GONE INTO A TOYOTA DEALER SHIP AND WAS TOLD, " SIR, I'M SORRY THIS IS NOT COVERED IN YOUR WARRANTY". THIS IS A FIRST CLASS AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY AND HAS FORCED GM TO MAKE A BETTER PRODUCT. THE ONLY VEHICLES I PRESENTLY OWN ARE TOYOTAS AND NONE HAVE EVER GIVEN ME ONE MECHANICAL PROBLEM, THIS IS A FACT!!!

January 14 2013 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
s.kohanski

Government Motors owned by the UAW m!m

January 14 2013 at 12:47 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
cakesandeggs

Never owned a Toyota, never will. Right now, Chevy 4x4 pickup and Dodge Charger. Love them both, no need to look elsewhere.

January 14 2013 at 12:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
aldebaran042363

then everybody wonders why our economy is ****** up. nothing wrong with american built cars i get 20 years or more out of mine !

January 14 2013 at 12:08 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to aldebaran042363's comment
obamawinner2012

Camrys are built in the U.S.. In fact, they are THE MOST AMERICAN MADE CAR IN AM ERICA. Don't believe me?
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/07/toyota-camry-beats-ford-f-150-as-most-american-made/1#.UPRB0ifEaSo

January 14 2013 at 12:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BRYAN STEILKIE

Thanks American for puttin g your money in the pockets of the Japaneese at the peril of your own country. Boy are you dumb. We laugh at your stupidity but we'll take your money.
Regards,
Japaneese Auto Manufaturing

January 14 2013 at 11:59 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to BRYAN STEILKIE's comment
ohwell3852

I would never ever buy a foreign car. I just couldnt do it. I have owned GM since 1982 and love them.

January 14 2013 at 11:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply