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Japanese automaker retains crown as top-seller globally

A Toyota Corolla.

Toyota sold more cars last year than any other automaker, figures released by the company on Tuesday confirmed.

Toyota beat German rival Volkswagen into second place, selling 11.2 million vehicles to customers worldwide over the last 12 months, marking a 7.2% increase over the previous year. It sees Toyota holding the top spot for the fourth straight year and setting a new annual record for auto sales among all carmakers.

Volkswagen recently reported 9.2 million sales, marking a year-on-year rise of 12%. South Korea’s Hyundai-Kia took third spot with 7.3 million sales, up 6.7%.

The vast majority of the Japanese company’s sales were of vehicles carrying the Toyota or Lexus badge, with the rest coming from Toyota subsidiaries Daihatsu and Hino Motors. Toyota’s biggest market was the U.S., with 2.6 million sales, marking a 7% increase from a year earlier.

Hybrids made up about a third of the Japanese automaker’s total, while fully electric car sales — a sector Toyota has been slow moving toward but is now investing heavily in — accounted for less than 1% of its sales.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Japanese car behemoth, however, as it’s recently been grappling with several scandals.

At the start of this week, it announced that it was pausing shipments of several models, including the Hilux truck and Land Cruiser 300 SUV, after irregularities were uncovered in tests for diesel engines developed by supplier Toyota Industries, Reuters reported. Long-running safety test wrongdoings also came to light at Daihatsu toward the end of last year, while in 2022, Hino Motors was also found to have falsified emissions data.

Keen to limit damage to the brand, Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, great-grandson of the automaker’s founder, told reporters at a gathering on Tuesday: “I would like to express my deepest apologies to our customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience and concern caused by the successive irregularities at Hino Motors, Daihatsu, and Toyota Industries,” adding that he would “lead the group’s reform.”

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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