Sales Fight: Toyota Beats GM Global Sales For First Half of 2012

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Rebounding after a year of troubles, Toyota is the world's top automaker for the first six months of 2012. Through the end of June, the Japanese car company has sold more vehicles globally than giants General Motors and Volkswagen.

Last year, Toyota was unseated as the world's largest carmaker after its production was slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Last year, GM claimed to be the world's largest automaker with a total of 9.03 million vehicles sold globally, while Volkswagen came in second place with 8.16 million. (Volkswagen later disputed that ranking.) Toyota, meanwhile, sold 7.98 million units last year.

This year, Toyota is back on pace to be the world's largest automaker. Bloomberg reports that the Japanese company has sold 4.97 million vehicles globally through the end of June, up 34 percent compared to the first half of 2011. GM in the same period saw sales rise 2.9 percent to 4.67 million vehicles, and Volkswagen sales climbed 8.9 percent to 4.45 million.

If those trends continue, Toyota will be the world's biggest carmaker this year, with GM in second place and Volkswagen in third. Volkswagen's global sales tally will inch up slightly later this year once the German company fully acquires sports-car manufacturer Porsche, as Porsche sales figures will then be included in the Volkswagen Group's accounting.

Within the U.S. market, that ranking is slightly different. For the first six months of this year, GM is in first place with 1.32 million vehicles sold and Toyota is second with 1.05 million. Combined Volkswagen and Audi sales here are just 275,200; the deficiency compared to global figures arises in part because Volkswagen has several other brands, like Seat and Skoda, that aren't sold in America.

Sources: Bloomberg, Toyota, Volkswagen, GM

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