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Malcolm Flynn | May 17, 2012

The Toyota Group is once again the world’s highest-selling automaker, relegating General Motors and the Volkswagen Group to second and third place.

Toyota had fallen to third place behind General Motors and Volkswagen in total worldwide sales for 2011.

This sales slide was largely due to the production interruptions caused by the Japanese tsunami and Thai floods, both of which occurred during 2011.

According to figures published by business paper Bloomberg, the Japanese carmaker has recovered with an 18 percent sales rise across its Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Hino and Daihatsu brands, with a total of 2.49 million units in the first quarter of this year.

General Motors and Volkwagen sold 2.28 million and 2.16 million units respectively over the same period.

"Although being number one is not the main goal for us, it’s nice to see because hopefully it shows we’re on the right track, and we’re optimistic the good momentum will continue”, said Toyota North America’s Jim Wiseman.

Locally, Toyota maintained its top sales ranking in 2011, though overall sales dropped 15.4 percent.

Australia’s 2012 first quarter results show Toyota maintaining its clear lead over Holden and Mazda in the local sales race.

However, with 47,375 sales by the end of March, Toyota's local figures were still one percent behind 2011 figures from the same period.

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