Toyota keeps top spot in auto sales rankings, outselling GM, VW

Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:40am EDT
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By Yoko Kubota

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) kept its lead over rivals General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) this year, January-September global sales figures showed, as the Japanese carmaker closes in on a record annual profit.

Toyota's groupwide sales totaled around 7.412 million vehicles, up 0.1 percent from the same period a year ago, the company said on Monday, as strong sales in the United States offset slowdowns in Thailand and China.

Toyota's groupwide total includes sales at affiliates Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd 7262.T and Hino Motors Ltd (7205.T: Quote).

General Motors sold 7.25 million vehicles during the same January to September period, up 4.6 percent year-on-year, while Volkswagen rose 4.8 percent to 7.03 million vehicles, according to figures released earlier this month.

Volkswagen's sales figure however, excludes its Scania and MAN brands. Scania sold around 56,220 vehicles up to September. Scania and MAN brands typically account for a combined 200,000 vehicles in a full year.

Toyota regained the global sales crown in 2012 after slipping to third place behind GM and Volkswagen in 2011, following natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. Previously, it had been on top from 2008 through 2010.

Analysts expect Toyota to post 2.4 trillion yen ($24.7 billion) in operating profit for the year ending March 2014, more than the record 2.27 trillion yen it hit in the year ended March 2008, as the weaker yen makes exports profitable.

For the full year, Toyota, together with Daihatsu and Hino, expects to sell 9.96 million vehicles, up 2 percent from 2012.   Continued...

A sign with a logo is on display at a Toyota car sales and showroom in St. Petersburg, September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk