Toyota Maintains Crown as World's Best-Selling Automaker

toyota world's top-selling automaker
Sakchai Lalit/APThe Toyota Vios compact sedan on display at the Bangkok Motor Show in March. Toyota maintained its lead in worldwide auto sales during the first quarter of 2013, beating out GM.

TOKYO -- Toyota held onto its status as the world's top-selling automaker in the first quarter of this year, although the three-way race with General Motors and Volkswagen is proving tight, as its sales fall in China and Japan.

Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) reported Wednesday it sold 2.43 million vehicles during the January-March period, outpacing U.S. automaker General Motors Co. (GM) at 2.36 million vehicles and Volkswagen AG of Germany at 2.27 million vehicles.

Toyota's first quarter sales declined 2.2 percent from a year earlier, while those for GM were up 3.6 percent and Volkswagen's jumped 5.1 percent.

GM's quarterly results were within about 69,000 vehicles of Toyota's.

The Japanese maker of the Prius hybrid and Camry sedan reclaimed its crown as world's top automaker last year, after losing it to GM a year earlier, when it was battered by the tsunami and quake disasters in northeastern Japan.

GM had been No. 1 for seven decades before losing that title to Toyota in 2008.

Toyota has been hit by a resurgence of anti-Japanese sentiment in China because of a territorial dispute over tiny islands, and some Chinese are worried about being seen driving a Japanese car. The company says the situation is slowly improving but getting back to solid growth again is likely to take some time.

The end of subsidies for green vehicles in Japan hurt Toyota sales in its home market. Such incentives had previously helped boost sales of its popular hybrid models.

Toyota's quarterly vehicle sales were down 13 percent in China and down 15 percent in Japan, compared to the same period last year.

Toyota is roaring back in North America, where sales rose 7 percent, as well as in many Asian nations, where it is relatively dominant.

Its stumble in China is a sore point as both GM and Volkswagen are gaining ground in that market, the world's largest, where potential for growth remains vast. The Chinese market is also crucial amid languishing sales in Europe, a far less important market for Toyota.

Last year, Toyota sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide to beat GM's 9.29 million and Volkswagen at 9.1 million.

Toyota shrugged off the latest results, echoing its typical past response.

"Rather than pursuing numbers, we try to sell one car at a time, producing good cars. We aren't focused on being No. 1," said company spokeswoman Shino Yamada.

Michael Dunne, an expert on the auto industry in China and president of Dunne & Co., said that Chinese are still buying quite a number of Japanese cars, but he also warned the competition remained intense.

"They must contend with powerful American, German and Korean competitors. In addition, they must find ways to cooperate with their Chinese joint venture partners, which can be difficult duty when the two countries are at odds over territory," he said.

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My first car: 85 Chevy Celebrity 135K =blown engine
2nd: 93 Merc cougar 115K = Blown trans
current: 2000 Lincoln conti (after $4k in various suspension repairs, including converting rubber springs to real ones), trans slipping, 108K
Yes I do maintain above & beyond the book, too bad I cant change the oil now, as the cheapo pan bolt is stripped, great, another $ 1000 4 a new oil pan
I will be joining all my friends soon, who have cars from toyota/honda, & get 200K + on oil changes & tires. American car buyers=keep drinking the cool aid

April 24 2013 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really ?

April 24 2013 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What ever happened to Government motors ?? Love my Lincoln MKS

April 24 2013 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love my matrix

April 24 2013 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Toyouta is also #1 in recalls. Not just in America but world wide. Their parts suppliers are also here in America so it is not the Americans at fault. We are loosing our pride in America. We should buy American always.

April 24 2013 at 9:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toosmart4u's comment

you should use american cars i bougth what ever i want as long is good quality and good .

April 24 2013 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best selling producer of junk!

April 24 2013 at 9:02 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David's comment

i have a nissan frontier 250,000 not repairs ship in gas about the junk are you talking about gm and ford

April 24 2013 at 10:08 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to epsservices1's comment

My ford has over 450 thousand with not a single engine repair. Call me when your car catches up

April 24 2013 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Love my 1997 Camry! 387,850 miles original engine and tranny!

April 24 2013 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rex Schaefer

Ignorant people like Wade wouldn't know the difference!

April 24 2013 at 8:18 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rex Schaefer's comment

i guest you like american cars you you like toyota and nissan because there a making it here in our soil, giving people like you better job placement treat you better american car are shiping their job to mexico i wonder who is the ignorant and stupid Rex

April 24 2013 at 10:12 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to epsservices1's comment

sounds like you are. If you didnt buy toyota then you would have to buy an american car and that whole mexico crap is outdated. Buy american and americans work and your money stays in our country and doesnt go to foriegners

April 24 2013 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Wade Copley

america cant build a decent car to many short cuts and to many recalls i would never buy a american car garbage

April 24 2013 at 7:56 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Wade Copley's comment

Wrong Wade

April 24 2013 at 9:08 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply