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3:01 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Toyota tops GM in global auto sales

With projected vehicle sales of 9.7 million in 2012, Toyota has once again dethroned General Motors as the world’s top-selling automaker.

GM increased its global vehicle sales to 9.29 million but could not keep pace with the Japanese automaker as it unveiled new versions of its popular Camry model.

German automaker Volkswagen followed close behind with 9.07 million in global sales.

Christine Tierney of The Detroit News has more:

GM was the top-selling carmaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. But GM retook the sales crown in 2011 when Toyota's factories were slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The disaster left Toyota dealers with few cars to sell. The company has since recovered.

Toyota's comeback from the earthquake, and flooding in Thailand, is only part of the story, says Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area industry forecasting firm. The company also has freshened up its stale midsize sedan, the Camry, the top-selling car in the United States.

GM's global sales rose 2.9 percent last year, it announced Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Toyota sales rose 22 percent.

Earlier this year, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke to auto industry analyst Mike Wall about the prospect of GM dropping to number two:

“I don’t think this is a knock on them,” said Wall,  “Let’s face it, Volkswagen is breathing down everybody’s neck…as it relates to the number one players. So this could be a short lived event in its own right.”

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom