Toyota Moves 2.58M Units to Keep the Throne During Q1

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Amid a competitive environment that’s perhaps stronger than ever, Toyota (NYSE:TM) has managed to cling on the number one spot among global automakers for the first quarter of this year, as well as for the third consecutive quarter, as Chinese demand for Japanese vehicles warmed up.

Sales at Toyota — which include Hino Motors and Diahatsu Motors results — rose 6 percent for the first three months of the year, to 2.58 million units. General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) are neck and neck in second place, having both announced that they sold about 2.4 million each. However, the German company hasn’t disclosed deliveries for the MAN and Scania heavy truck brands as of yet.

“We expect Toyota to hold the [number one] title in the industry until 2016 or 2017,” Masatoshi Nishimoto, an analyst at IHS automotive, told Bloomberg. “For Toyota to maintain the title beyond that, they may need to grow more in China.” Territorial disputes between Japan and China has led to anti-Japanese sentiments in China that have hurt sales of manufacturers in the region.

Toyota is aiming to move 10 million units this year, which would be the first time a company has achieved such a milestone. It’s also projecting record profits of 1.9 trillion yen ($18.5 billion) thanks to a weakened yen. However, Volkswagen has also pledged to move 10 million units globally this year, and unlike Toyota, it didn’t initiate a 6-million-unit recall in the first quarter, which is bound to cost Toyota a good chunk of change.

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