After seeing its sales take a hit in 2011 because production was hurt by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan early that year, Toyota bounced back in 2012 to retake the No. 1 spot as the world’s top automaker.
The company sold 9.75 million vehicles, to No. 2 General Motors’ 9.3 million. Volkswagen was No. 3, with 9.1 million vehicles sold.
Among the reasons Toyota is back atop the sales statistics: Strong demand “for its Prius family of hybrid cars, sedans like the Camry and SUVs such as the Lexus RX 350,” MarketWatch writes.
Now, thanks to a weaker yen that is helping make its products less expensive in the key U.S. market, Toyota is forecasting another gain in 2013 — to sales of 9.9 million. BloombergBusinessweek says some of Toyota’s good fortune will come at the expense of South Korea’s automakers, who are getting hurt by a rising South Korean won that makes their vehicles relatively more expensive.
USA Today notes that “GM had been the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008.”
CNNMoney adds one footnote to the Toyota-GM rivalry:
“Toyota’s sales totals were also helped by the fact that it made more than 600,000 heavy-duty trucks and buses during the year, a segment GM essentially pulled out of in 2009.”