Toyota has today overtaken Volkswagen to reclaim its crown as the world’s biggest car producer, the first time it has held the spot since 2015.
The Japanese carmaker saw 9.5m cars roll off its assembly lines last year, despite an 11 per cent drop in production due to the pandemic.
Volkwagen, on the other hand, suffered a 15 per cent output fall, producing 9.3m models in total.
All carmakers have suffered from the coronavirus, which caused widespread shuttering of factories and a slowdown in output due to social distancing measures.
But Toyota has avoided taking as much damage as other auto giants due to a faster recovery in its home markets in Japan and the rest of Asia.
Enhanced demand for electric vehicles in China, the world’s biggest auto market, saw Toyota’s share of EV sales rise to 23 per cent.
“Naturally the number of units sold was lower than in the previous year because of the spread of coronavirus,” Toyota spokeswoman Chisato Yoshifuji said.
“But because Toyota and its partners were able to thoroughly implement measures to combat the spread of the virus, we were able to continue our corporate activities and keep yearly declines at the level they were.”
The carmaker has two factories in the UK, employing around 3,000 staff.
New rules of origin regulations for auto firms following the UK’s departure from the EU could raise questions about Toyota’s future in this country, where it builds the Auris.