Toyota was the world’s best-selling carmaker in 2014, edging out Volkswagen and GM to hold the position for the third year in a row.
The Volkswagen group managed a close second with 10.14 million, while former champion GM reported 9.92 million sales.
Toyota’s record run marked a 3 percent increase on 2013, but the carmaker has already forecast a 1 percent drop in 2015 - due largely to an anticipated 9 percent drop in Japan sales, where the government has recently raised its sales tax.
The company is also expecting a decline in Brazil this year and lttle growth in Europe, however a 3 percent improvement is expected in North America - its biggest market by far with 28 percent of overall Toyota sales, and one that delivered 6 percent growth in 2014.
By comparison, Volkswagen can attribute only 5 percent of its global sales to North America, moving the German company to focus on new models and increased production in the region over the years ahead.
A sticking point for Toyota is China, where it expects 1.1 million sales this year, while GM and Volkswagen regularly achieve more than 3 million sales there each year.
Volkswagen’s 10.14 million sales in 2014 marked a 4 percent improvement, while GM’s 9.92 million represents a 2 percent increase on its 2013 tally.
The top spot has belonged to Toyota almost entirely without interruption since 2008, when it took the crown from GM after seven decades of the American company’s dominance.
GM briefly returned to number one in 2011, however, when Toyota production was hobbled by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. Toyota took the top spot again in 2012.
Toyota chief Akio Toyoda has openly stated that Toyota is now focused more on quality than the battle for sales dominance, a response to the controversy that surrounded huge recalls for the carmaker in 2009, his first year in the top job.
“We were like a tree that grew too rapidly,” Mr Toyoda said at the time.
Volkswagen, however, remains outspoken in its drive to take the number one spot, with boss Martin Winterkorn declaring that VW will be number one by 2018.
Winterkorn’s first announcement of the company’s 2018 goal included a target of 10 million sales, a milestone that has now been passed four years ahead of schedule.
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