Malcolm Flynn | Oct 29, 2012

Toyota continues to be the world’s number one carmaker in 2012, based on third quarter sales results.

The Japanese giant has announced that it sold 7.4 million vehicles worldwide to the end of September, compared with closest rival General Motors’ 6.95 million (up 2.5 percent).

Following GM closely is the Volkswagen Group with 6.7 million sales worldwide in 2012, up 9.7 percent for the same period in 2011.

Toyota’s figure marks a 28 percent increase over the same period last year - significant given Toyota’s fall to third place behind GM and the Volkswagen Group in overall 2011 sales.

Prior to the 2011 result, Toyota had been unchallenged for the top spot since 2008, with last year’s decline blamed largely on supply issues resulting from the Japanese tsunami and earthquake and Thai flood natural disasters.

This year is not without challenge for Toyota however, with sales declining in the increasingly significant Chinese market, due to the Japan/China territorial dispute.

A resulting boycott of Japanese products in China saw a 49 percent drop in September Chinese domestic sales for Toyota compared with the same month in 2011.

Analysts predict a recovery before the end of the year, but Toyota’s overall 2012 Chinese sales are expected to fall 100,000 vehicles short of their earlier target of one million sales.

However, GM and the Volkswagen Group are not expected to challenge Toyota for total 2012 worldwide sales.

The Volkswagen Group is suffering via the weak European economy, and GM’s US-market growth lags 11.6 percent behind the overall US industry’s 15 percent year-to-date expansion figure.

Australia

Locally, Toyota (159,111 vehicles) maintains a healthy sales lead over Holden (85,345) and Mazda (95,932) to the end of September, in a market that has grown 9.4 percent over the same period.

Toyota’s local sales represent a 21.1 percent increase over the same period last year, while Mazda’s 18.1 percent growth is closing on Holden, who has dropped 11 percent.

Forbes Tips Toyota In Successful Cars Survey

Toyota’s international success so far in 2012 coincides with the Camry, Corolla, Prius and RAV4 being named among ‘The Most Successful Cars of 2012’.

US business mag Forbes listed these models based on US data relating to sales volume, customer satisfaction, performance, reliability, safety, and value.

Other cars to feature in the list include the Lexus LS, BMW 1 Series and 3 Series, Hyundai's i45, Elantra and Genesis sedan, the Volkswagen Jetta, and the Mercedes E-Class and C-Class models.

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