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Toyota Beats GM By Narrow Margin For 2013 Global Auto Sales Crown

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The old axiom goes: it’s not bragging if you can back it up. Toyota has set an ambitious 10 million vehicle 2014 sales goal for themselves only weeks into January, and it has nothing to do with false bravado. Including the sales from both its Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor Company subsidiaries, Toyota shipped 9.98 million units during 2013, just barely missing the distinction of becoming the first automaker to deliver 10 million units in a calendar year. This means that Toyota beats GM and their impressive 9.71 million worldwide 2013 total by whole a quarter-million vehicles and, in doing so, retains their best global sales title once again.

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As Bloomberg notes, their margin of victory is nonetheless shrinking: Toyota’s sales in 2012 were 460,000 greater than that of General Motors. Not to be ignored are GM’s sales dominance in the US and Volkswagen’s supremacy among foreign automakers in China (VW also moved just a bit more than 9.7 million vehicles globally in 2013). With two competitors besting them in arguably the two most crucial marketplaces (Toyota Brand was the number one retail brand during 2013, but GM’s collective sales trumped Toyota Division’s numbers), Toyota knows it will have its work cut out for them if they hope to reign supreme once more in 2014.

If Toyota beats GM (and VW) again in the year to come, it will likely result in record-shattering years from all automakers involved. Toyota has promised a four percent increase in sales for the year to come, aiming to move 10.1 million passenger vehicles and 10.32 million vehicles overall. This would mean, if the margin of victory continues to shrivel, that 2014 could potentially end with anywhere up to three automakers pulling in 10 million or more sales globally.

With U.S. vehicle sales expected to top 16 million for the first time since the recession began and more than 20 million vehicles likely to sell in China alone in 2014, Toyota will have its work cut out for them if they hope to extend their reign another year.

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