The Toyota sales, including subsidiaries Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor went up 2.4 percent from last year to 9.98 million vehicles, announced the Japanese group.
The American manufacturer General Motors (GM) has shipped 9.71 million units, and Volkswagen (VW) 9.7 million units. The number of cars sold will likely increase this year with 3.2 percent to 10.32 million units, estimates Toyota.
Toyota has retained its crown of auto market leader, and managed at the same time to achieve significantly higher profits compared to GM and VW. On the other hand, it will be facing a strong comeback of the American auto producers, which present the best models in recent decades while rivals from Volkswagen greatly increased investments in the United States and China.
“The competition is getting more intense,” said Sanjeev Varma, managing director at Stellar Alliance Group LLC, based in Detroit. “VW is number one in China, GM number one in the U.S., and all three automakers are scaling up investment in product development and on new models.”
The year 2013 was a landmark for the general manager of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, who took over the group after the first annual loss in nearly six decades. After several years, in which the car manufacturer has been plagued by massive recalls service, natural disasters, strong appreciation of the yen, and the boycott of Japanese goods by the Chinese consumers, Toyoda finally got what he wanted: a year without disaster.
Toyoda, a grandson of the company founder, has imposed a greater attention to emerging markets, and restructured the management since taking the lead back in 2009. The competition between major car manufacturers is intensifying and the advance held by Toyota decreases, according to Bloomberg.
Toyota had an advance of 460,000 cars in front of the GM in 2012, but it was reduced to 270,000 units currently. General Motors recorded last year an advance of 4 percent, which represents 9.71 million cars, while deliveries of VW increased by approximately 5 percent, which means over 9.7 million units. The German group did not provide a precise figure to the publication of financial results in January. The VW sales include the MAN and Scania truck brands.
“What Toyoda has been doing is to go back to Toyota’s original philosophy and focus on products and long-term goals,” stated Kota Yuzawa, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Group in Tokyo. “Last year was the first year his efforts began to bear fruits. The product cycle has just started and they can probably continue to roll out good products and give us good numbers.”
“Competition is definitely much tougher than before the financial crisis,” declared Peggy Furusaka, auto analyst at Moody’s in Tokyo. ‘‘It’s going to be more and more difficult to predict who’s going to be No. 1.”