Toyota regains title as top car maker

Toyota has resumed the top spot as the globe's most successful car brand.

The Japanese company has announced sales for 2012 of an unprecedented 9.748 million cars - higher than its predicted 9.7 million vehicles.

Toyota has outsold Detroit's General Motors, which turned over 9.29 million cars. GM had been the best-selling car manufacturer for more than 70 years before being beaten by Toyota four years ago.

GM regained the title 12 months ago, when Toyota's activity received a blow due to natural disasters in north-east Japan.

But new stats show Toyota's renewed success.

Worldwide revenue for the car giant jumped by almost 23% compared to 12 months ago. Sales abroad rose by almost 20%, and in Japan, which has been hit by financial crisis, sales rose by 35%.

German brand Volkswagen, the third top manufacturer worldwide, reported a peak in global sales of 9.1 million vehicles.

However, all three firms have attached little importance to the statistics and said their aim is solely to make excellent motors.

Toyota said the data will not change the firm's strategy, a representative, Shino Yamada, saying: "Rather than going after numbers, we hope to make fine products, one by one, to keep our customers satisfied."

However, the regrowth in Toyota sales has been exceptional. The firm's revenue plummeted with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011, which affected the availability of vital product parts. Floods in Thailand, where Toyota is also based, also reduced productivity.

Prior to this, it faced problems with a high number of defective vehicles in the USA, due to faulty floor mats, gas pedals and brakes. Millions of cars were involved, some of which were recalled several times, which damaged the company's image as a brand of integrity.

Toyota has since promised to carry out stricter checks and have delayed new products to help guarantee existing standards.

During the last six months of 2012 it also faced a backlash from Japanese clients who chose to boycott Chinese products due to a border row.

However, revenue rose elsewhere in the world, with strong growth in the USA and Asia (Indonesia and India), which has counterbalanced any damage.

The firm intends to sell some 9.91 million vehicles worldwide this year, resuming its plan to sell 10 million vehicles, an aim which it failed to meet after its quality issues.

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