Toyota has held on to the title of the biggest automaker in the world for the first quarter of 2013. Its sales outnumbered General Motors and Volkswagen by a slight margin for it win the first leg of the annual marathon.
The Japanese manufacturer is witnessing fierce competition worldwide as it has sold 2.43 million vehicles through March ahead of GM's sales numbers of 2.36 million and Volkswagen's 2.27 million.
Though Toyota has gained sales in North America by about 7 percent, its reputation in the world's biggest hunting ground, the Chinese market, has been plagued by territorial disputes between Japan and China. Owing to that, Toyota's sales in China were 13% down compared to the first quarter of 2012.
Hybrid vehicle sales at home has been hampered by the Japanese government policies as the subsidies ended for green vehicles resulting in 15% fall in numbers. Taking advantage of Toyota's woes in the vast Chinese market, both GM and Volkswagen upped their performance to close the gap for the sales crown.
The situation in Japan and China let Toyota down in the first quarter as sales went down by 2.2% from the previous year, GM's sales rose 3.6% while Volkswagen posted a 5.1% increase to its first quarter figures. In India, Toyota enjoys over 5% market share, propelled by the success of Innova and Fortuner series of vehicles.
GM maintained the world’s largest automaker crown for a few decades until 2008. Thanks to recession in the United States, GM had to file for bankruptcy and handed over the top spot to Toyota. Hit by natural calamities and millions of vehicle recalls in 2011, Toyota gave up its No.1 spot to GM only to reclaim it back the following year.