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Auto Industry

Toyota back as world's top carmaker after 2012 sales boost

Japan's Toyota company has recaptured the title of the world's biggest carmaker, driven by record sales and profits in 2012. The result is a sign that Toyota has recovered from years of crisis.

Toyota sales rose 23 percent to 9.75 million vehicles last year, according to latest figures released by the Japanese carmaker Tuesday. The record figure means Toyota outsold its rivals, US carmaker General Motors and Germany's Volkswagen, which delivered 9.3 million and 9.1 million cars respectively to customers in 2012.

The world's number one automaker attributed the result to higher sales in Europe, the United States and Asia, as well as to a weaker yen.

In addition, the sales boost was reflecting the company's profit improvement activities, Toyota Senior Managing Officer Takahiko Ijichi told reporters in Tokyo, as he pointed to cost-cutting efforts and tougher quality controls introduced recently.

Toyota's recovery comes after a massive recall crisis between 2009 and 2010, in which millions of cars worldwide had to be recalled for a range of technical problems. Moreover, the twin natural disasters that hit Japan in March 2011 caused major production disruptions.

Underlining its solid recovery in 2012, Toyota announced it expected net profit in its current fiscal year, ending in March, to rise to 860 billion yen (6.9 billion euros) on the back of 17 percent higher revenues compared with the previous fiscal year.

uhe/hc (AP, Reuters AFP)

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