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The Camry helped Toyota reclaim the sales title in 2012... The Camry helped Toyota reclaim the sales title in 2012 (Credit: Toyota).
DETROIT (AP) -- Toyota has once again dethroned General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker.

The Japanese company sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2012, although it's still counting. GM sold 9.29 million.

Both companies saw higher sales, but Toyota's growth was far larger as it rolled out new versions of popular models like the Camry. GM executives promised sales growth this year, especially in the U.S. Both companies say publicly that they don't care about who wins, but concede that the crown is an important morale booster for employees.

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.

Schuster expects Toyota to keep the lead over GM this year as it launches a new Corolla.

"I think that's going to be enough to keep them in their position," he says.

Toyota builds 70 percent of the cars it sells in the U.S. in North America, including the Corolla.

GM is also contending with a stronger Volkswagen. It narrowly edged out the fast-growing German company for second place in 2012. VW sold a record 9.1 million vehicles.

Volkswagen, with big sellers like the Passat midsize sedan and Jetta compact, closed in on GM with an 11 percent sales increase across the globe. The United States, where VW Group sales rose 34 percent, led the way.

Schuster expects GM to hold off Volkswagen in 2013. That's because VW has more of a presence in Europe, where sales are falling as the region struggles with high unemployment and weak economies.


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  • 17 Comments
      F.Jones
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'll never have one in my garage.
      Tom
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is good that the most American made cars are the biggest sellers in the world.
        grtsch6134
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tom
        ......you are a nitwit. first of all, toyota is a japanese brand. that means it's corporate headquarters is in japan. GM's headquarters is in in america--detroit--and detroit is teetering on financial ruin. GM, as well as ford and chrysler have lost market share, and they have all lost l brands--mercury, pontiac, plymouth, oldsmobile, hummer and saturn.......... which, then, is the best scenario for america--that GM thrives and expands in the world, or that toyota does?
      richard
      • 2 Years Ago
      When Asia gets hit by another tidal wave, it will slow Toyota down again.
      Neil
      • 2 Years Ago
      At my previous jobs, I had to rent a car every week. This was over a 11 year period. So I've driven several different makes & models. By far, the worse cars I had ever driven were the Camry & the Corolla. My two favorited were the Ford Fushion & the Chevy Impala. This was for style, handling & performance. I like to know who the yahoo are that make these selections. The Japanese???
      rgynn
      • 2 Years Ago
      lol and the camry just flunked what crash test? give me a Honda
        janka51
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rgynn
        why dont you buy an American car , the job you save may be your own
        grtsch6134
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rgynn
        ..sure...and drive it to japan, too. see ya!
      JIM
      • 2 Years Ago
      To hell with all new cars, i'm looking for old Chevies that the Mexicans haven't turned into jumping beans.
      janka51
      • 2 Years Ago
      looks like people just get stupider and stupider
      veasystreet
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe people are pissed that GM owes $27 billion to the U.S. Treasury and does not have to pay back a dime!
        grtsch6134
        • 2 Years Ago
        @veasystreet
        ......and toyota's success in america has everything to do with the fact that GM needed the loan. and since GM is an american brand, and YOU have a vested piece in their success or failure, hope your next car purchase helps your great grandchildren..............
      adika3z
      • 2 Years Ago
      this car is a poor design, not good automaker
      Steve
      • 2 Years Ago
      There is still so much about American Car manufactures that they don't do "right" Ford has learned and GM needs still wake up to make better cars and trucks still, and Dodge is still way out in "Ignorance" Land for it's Cars, no wonder Jeep Wrangers from 2002 to the present day they have too short of steering or front end metal bars and there is a death wobble in the steering systems and it's caused many wrecks and Chrysler/Dodge won't address it at all! Shame on American Car Manufacturers for Ignoring these things!
      joe
      • 2 Years Ago
      I didnt know there were that many retards in america who bought toyotas recalled junk!!!!!!!!
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