Toyota takes pole position in sales stakes

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has claimed that it is now the world’s biggest car company, with annual sales exceeding those of traditional market leader General Motors.

Toyota said today that it sold a total of 2.35 million units across the world between January and March, a nine per cent rise, in contrast to GM’s figures of 2.26 million.

The Japanese automaker is behind such popular models as the Auris, Avensis and the Rav4 and also owns luxury brand Lexus. The General Motors family is made up of a range of marques including Chevrolet, Saab and Vauxhall.

GM has been the world’s top seller of automobiles for 76 of its 99 years in existence, but recent years have seen its dominance challenged by Toyota.

One of the reasons believed to have supported Toyota’s growth is a new interest in smaller, more environmentally friendly cars as opposed to large 4x4s and SUVs.

The Japanese company, which was founded in 1937, now appears to be on course to reach a target of 9.34 million global sales in 2007.

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