Despite Recall Woes, Toyota Retained Global Sales Dominance in 2010

Despite recall woes and a decline in U.S. sales, Toyota Motor Corporation retained the title of world’s largest automaker in 2010, thanks to increased global demand.  In a statement released on Monday, the Japanese automaker reported that its sales, including those of its affiliate and luxury Lexus brands rose 8 percent to 8.42 million units last year.

The world’s No. 2 automaker, General Motors Company, reported worldwide sales of 8.39 million vehicles, an increase of 12 percent compared with the previous year. GM also reported that it sold more vehicles in China than in its home market.  Sales in China rose by 29 percent to 2,351,610 units, while U.S. sales increased by 6.3 percent to 2,215,227 vehicles.

GM included sales by its nine joint ventures, including SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Company, Shanghai GM Dong Yue Motors Company and Shanghai General Motors Company in its total China sales.

Although global sales of Toyota vehicles rose in 2010, U.S. sales fell by 0.4 percent to 1.76 million units last year. The decline was in part due to consumer skepticism about the automaker’s commitment to quality and safety and a flurry of safety recalls prompted by numerous reports of unintentional acceleration.

In China, Toyota sales rose by 19 percent in 2010.

TIW Incorporated analyst Satoru Takada said, “Toyota’s sales in Asia are growing, but in China it’s clearly lagging behind GM and other market leaders.  In the U.S., with the recalls, a lack of splashy new models and the top-selling Camry at the end of its cycle, the result is not surprising.”

The world’s third largest automaker, Germany’s Volkswagen AG, reported a 7.14 percent rise in global sales to 7.14 million vehicles. Earlier this month, the company’s sales chief Christian Klingler predicted that Volkswagen’s 2011 sales will grow by 5 percent.

Last month, Toyota announced that it expects to sell about 8.6 million units globally this year. General Motors did not include a 2011 sales forecast in its 2010 report.

Toyota reported that its 2010 sales, not including its Daihatsu and Hino divisions, reached 7.53 million units, an increase of 8 percent. The automaker reported that Daihatsu sales in 2010 rose 4 percent to 783,000 units, while sales of Hino’s light- and medium-duty trucks grew by 35 percent to 107,000 units. Toyota owns a majority 51 percent share of minicar maker Daihatsu.

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