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Toyota in the Race for Biggest Automaker of 2017

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2018 Toyota Yaris exterior

Toyota says it sold 10.35 million vehicles around the world this year, putting it at the front of the race to claim the 2017 title world’s biggest automaker—and marking a 2% improvement over last year.

In 2016, Volkswagen barely pipped Toyota to the title by selling 10.3 million vehicles compared to the Japanese automaker’s 10.2 million vehicles. The third largest automaker, General Motors, was firmly beaten had been expected to come fourth in 2017 after Renault-Nissan, which now includes Mitsubishi, before the company ran into sales problems after inspection irregularities were reported at their plants.

Toyota says it expects to sell nearly 10.495 million vehicles next year, though executives have repeatedly insisted they are not seeking to be the top company in global vehicle sales, admitting that chasing numbers could even be unhealthy.

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However, competition is getting increasingly intense in both existing and emerging markets, such as the US and Europe in the former case and China and India in the latter. Toyota saw the biggest growth at home, with sales growing 10% in Japan and 1% abroad, though it predicts the opposite will happen in 2018.

The automaker is now fully focused on developing electrified vehicles: it plans to sell more than 10 all-electric models globally by the early 2020s and is investing billions of dollars into battery research, having recently struck an alliance with Panasonic. By 2030, it aims to have sold more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles, including one million zero-emission vehicles, such as the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.

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