Toyota maintains lead in global vehicle sales
The company sold nearly 10 million vehicles worldwide last year, and expects to surpass that key milestone in 2014.
A rising tide lifts all boats, and while U.S. car-makers have been enjoying the auto industry's new forward momentum, Toyota Motors (TM) has once again come out on top as the global leader in vehicle sales.
In a statement released Thursday, Toyota said it sold a record 9.98 million vehicles worldwide in 2013, a 2 percent rise from the previous year.
And its sales and production plans for this calendar year project a 4 percent increase -- which would break through the 10 million sales milestone.
That effort, if successful, it would reportedly be the first time any automaker has ever sold 10 million or more vehicles in a year.
Last year was the second-straight year Toyota has earned the title of best-selling automaker.
According to Reuters, General Motors (GM) also had a strong 2013, with sales of 9.71 million -- an increase of 4 percent -- while Volkswagen (VLKAF), with its target of becoming the world's largest automaker by 2018, reported its sales up about 5 percent last year, to more than 9.7 million.
Toyota sales remain stagnant at home in Japan, where the economy is still struggling to recover from not only the global economic downturn but the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor disaster in the country's northeastern region in 2011.
The company is expecting a 5 percent reduction in its Japanese sales for 2014, to 2.1 million units. And according to The Wall Street Journal, Japanese consumers will also be dealing with a consumption tax increase in April, which will most likely become another factor for car sales data.
But that weakness at home was more than offset by Toyota vehicle sales in the U.S. -- up 7 percent year to year at 2.24 million vehicles in 2013 – and strong figures in China, where the company sold 917,000 units last year, a rise of 9 percent.
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Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
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