Despite recalls and millions of dollars in fines and compensation awards, Toyota has taken the crown for most global sales for the second year in a row, with a record of nearly 10 million vehicles sold. GM, which had held the record for more than 70 years was first surpassed by the Japanese carmaker in 2008, then regained its top position briefly in 2011, when Toyota was hit hard by the tsunami and earthquake that devastated Japan.
The two have raced neck and neck ever since, with General Motors trailing last year by only 270,000 units. In turn, Volkswagen AG finished in third place with a total of 9.5 millions vehicles sold in 2013.
Much of Toyota’s success was seen in the United States, where sales ended up rising by 7%, as well as an increase in the Chinese market, where consumers bought 917,000 cars for an increase of over 9% from the year before. The automaker expects U.S. sales to grow 3 percent to 2.3 million vehicles, while adding 20 percent in China sales to 1.1 million.
Experts expect the race between Toyota and GM to be close again this year, especially with the Detroit company’s new line of full-size pick-ups and SUVs ready to roll.
In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz bested BMW for top honors as the best selling luxury brand in the US for 2013 with 312,534 vehicles driven off dealership lots, a 14% increase over the previous year.