Report: Toyota Back as World's Biggest Carmaker

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Thanks to numerous setbacks last year, Toyota was bumped from its title of the world's largest automaker. Fret no more, Toyota fans: a new report from the Detroit Free Press states that as of the first quarter of this year the Japanese juggernaut has reclaimed its crown.

Last year, General Motors bumped Toyota from the top spot, thanks to numerous setbacks caused by natural disasters in Asia and Toyota's wide-ranging recalls that tarnished the brand's sterling reputation. However, as of the end of March, Toyota was able to move an impressive 2.49 million vehicles worldwide, an increase of some 15.8 percent over last year. Until last year, Toyota had maintained the title as the world's largest automaker for three years when it fell to third place behind GM and Volkswagen.

Hot on Toyota's heels are GM and Volkswagen. Those two companies each moved 2.28 million and 2.16 million vehicles in Q1 of 2012, respectively. General Motors was toppled by Toyota in 2009 due to a rapidly decreasing global market share and the company's bankruptcy proceedings. Volkswagen, on the other hand, is looking for world dominance: just a few years ago, company brass announced plans to become the world's largest automaker by 2018. At VW's current pace, it's expected the German giant could hit that target as soon as 2016.

But don't count GM down for the count just yet. GM representative Jim Cain told the Freep that "[GM] has the ingredients to [grow more and earn more] over time, especially with our aggressive new product launch calendar and the momentum Chevrolet, in particular, is building around the world."

Volkswagen and Toyota both have aggressive global product plans up their sleeves as well – Volkswagen has just opened up a new factory in Tennessee to build cars specifically for the U.S. market, and Toyota is planning no less than a dozen new product launches between 2012 and 2013. The fight for the number one spot is far from over.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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