Toyota on course to keep its title as the world’s biggest car maker

City A.M. Reporter
TOYOTA kept its lead over rivals General Motors and Volkswagen this year, January-September global sales figures showed, as the Japanese carmaker closes in on a record annual profit.

Toyota’s groupwide sales totalled around 7.412m vehicles, up 0.1 per cent from the same period a year ago, the company said yesterday, as strong sales in the United States offset slowdowns in Thailand and China.

General Motors sold 7.25m vehicles during the same period, up 4.6 per cent year-on-year, while Volkswagen rose 4.8 per cent to 7.03m vehicles, according to figures released earlier this month.

Volkswagen’s sales figure, however, excludes its Scania and MAN brands.

Analysts expect Toyota to post ¥2.4 trillion (£15.2bn) in operating profit for the year ending March 2014, more than the record ¥2.27 trillion it hit in the year ended March 2008, as the weaker yen makes exports profitable.

Toyota regained the global sales crown in 2012 after slipping to third place behind GM and Volkswagen in 2011, following natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. Previously, it had been on top from 2008 through 2010.