Toyota Takes Back its Place as World’s Largest Automaker image

Toyota managed to take back its place as the world’s biggest automaker, while VW and GM still struggle for the second place.

2012 means a record year for the auto industry, with 80 million cars and trucks to be sold for the first time, thanks to the robust Japanese and US purchases which managed to make up for the sluggish European market. Toyota managed to amazingly rebound from the natural disasters which stroke Japan last year and take the title from GM, leaving the company in a race with VW for the second place.

The strength of the US light-vehicle market helped all three automakers boost sales, a market which is expected to increase more in 2013, which would be the fourth straight year of gains after the 2009 collapse and industry bailout.

“Because the U.S. is so large, when we have a double-digit growth it’s going to propel the rest of the world,” said Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with IHS Automotive. “The gains can mask a myriad of sins elsewhere, because many of the other economies aren’t exactly setting the world on fire.”

As the distance between VW and GM is less than 1% it will all come to the exact counting of sales. During the first three quarters Toyota sold 7.4 million vehicles, followed by GM with 6.95 million and VW with 6.9 million units.