Toyota takes crown from GM as world’s No. 1 in sales

dailynews.com -- Jan 05
Toyota Camry, take a bow. Prius, bask in the limelight. Strong demand for those models helped propel the Japanese carmaker onto the throne as the world’s largest auto seller – at least for the first quarter of 2007.

Through a shrewd combination of investing in environment-friendly vehicles, offering sharp new models and wooing drivers with brand power, Toyota has toppled GM from the top global sales spot for the first time ever, sales figured released on Tuesday show.

Whether it becomes the world’s No. 1 automaker depends on annual worldwide vehicle production, rather than sales, and final bragging rights for that won’t be decided until production numbers are tallied for the whole year.

But analysts say Toyota is advancing precisely in those areas that General Motors Corp. has fallen behind, making it likely that Toyota will snatch from GM the title it has held for 76 years.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold 2.35 million vehicles worldwide in the January-March period, surpassing the 2.26 million vehicles GM sold in the quarter, according to preliminary figures.

In 2006, Toyota’s global output rose 10 percent to 9.018 million vehicles, while GM and its affiliates produced 9.18 million vehicles worldwide – a gap of about 162,000. In the first quarter, Toyota made 2.37 million vehicles worldwide, while GM has only given a planned production number of 2.34 million vehicles.

But Toyota has long beaten GM in profitability, racking up record profits for the past four years, with $11.8 billion profit for the fiscal year through March 2006. GM lost $2 billion last year.

去年のアメリカ国内の新車販売台数は、日本のトヨタ自動車がアメリカのゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)を超え、首位となることが確実視されています。 - ANNnewsCH