Toyota May Regain the First Place In Global Sales This Year image

In the first half of 2012 Toyota sold 4.97 million vehicles, a result which could lead the company back on the first place as the world’s top automaker.

The strong results show Toyota’s powerful rebound from last year’s losses and also its expansion in new markets such as Southeast Asia and China. Last year Toyota was hit by the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, and also by the massive U.S. recalls, of more than 14 million vehicles since the quality control problems started three years ago.

GM, the No.1 in world auto sales in 2011, will report first-half global sales on August 2nd. The auto maker will likely hit sales of 4.7 million vehicles, due to strong sales in the US and China. GM was No.1 in global sales until 2008 when it lost the crown to Toyota and also filed for bankruptcy protection. GM already lost in the first quarter to Toyota with 2.28 million cars compared with 2.49 million sold by the Japanese automaker. Toyota expects to sell 9.58 million vehicles by the end of this year, up 21% from 2011.

“Toyota’s rebound is impressive,” said Chizuko Satsukawa, auto analyst for Standard & Poor’s in Tokyo. “But what’s even more important than the numbers is profitability.”