Japan’s Toyota has remained the world’s biggest carmaker, outselling rivals General Motors (GM) and Volkswagen (VW) so far in 2013. But Toyota’s lead has narrowed as its sales slumped in the second quarter.
In the first half of 2013, Toyota Motor Corporation sold more cars than any other automaker in the world, according to figures released by the Japanese firm on Friday.
Total sales between January and June reached 4.91 million cars and trucks, down 1.2 percent from the same half-year period in 2012.
Earlier this month, US auto giant General Motors (GM) said it had sold 4.85 million vehicles in the first six months of 2013, which was 4 percent more than last year. For the second quarter alone, GM was outselling Toyota by about 10,000 vehicles.
Toyota's pole position in the global car markets is also challenged by Germany's Volkswagen Group, which reported 5.5 percent higher sales this year at 4.7 million vehicles.
The German car group, which includes top-selling luxury brands Porsche and Audi, has set itself the target of becoming world market leader in numbers by 2018.
However, sales figures were not the only measure of excellence, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said, adding that profitability, as well as productivity and quality were also significant.
"What truly defines being No. 1 is an eternal pursuit for which there is never an answer," he told reporters.
GM officials also said recently that they didn't care who won the race for the global auto leadership. The US car manufacturer once held the title for seven decades before losing it to Toyota in 2008.
uhe/kms (AP, dpa)