Toyota remains in world's No. 1 spot

08:42, January 25, 2011      

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Toyota sold 8.42 million vehicles globally in 2010, remaining the world's top auto maker for the third straight year despite recall woes in the key North American market.

General Motors also released a new tally yesterday for its global 2010 sales, at 8.39 million vehicles, slightly fewer than Toyota's number, but a dramatic 12 percent rebound from 7.48 million vehicles the year before.

The race between the two giants appears to be getting close, with the chance the tables could be turned, seeing GM once again rising to the top.

"General Motors is going strong, and it's a sure sign of its re-emergence," said Yasuaki Iwamoto, auto analyst with Okasan Securities Co in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Toyota wasn't showing much growth in North America - and growing slower in China than GM - partly because it lacks the United States auto maker's extensive model lineup such as large-size sedans, he said.

Toyota's global sales, including truck maker Hino Motors Ltd and Daihatsu Motor Co, which makes small cars, rose 8 percent from 2009, driven by solid sales growth in China and other Asian nations, the Japanese manufacturer said.

Toyota Motor Corp dethroned GM as the world's No. 1 auto maker in worldwide vehicle sales in 2008 - a position GM held for nearly eight decades. Since then, GM was bailed out by the US government and underwent restructuring after a brief period in bankruptcy protection.

George Hansen, a GM spokesman in Tokyo, played down the importance of Toyota's bigger sales numbers.

"We don't focus on who is No. 1," he said of the so-called "new GM."

Still, GM achieved double-digit jumps in five of its top 10 markets, including a 28.8 percent increase in China, where it sold 2.35 million vehicles, more than it sold in the US.

Toyota, in contrast, sold just 846,000 vehicles in China.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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