Toyota Motor Corp. sold 2.58 million vehicles in the first three months of 2014, making it the best-selling global carmaker in the period. Toyota outsold for a third straight quarter closest rivals General Motors Co. and Volkswagen Group, which sales were pegged at around 2.4 million each.
Toyota’s figures include its Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co. units while VW’s numbers exclude its MAN and Scania heavy trucks. In the United States arena, GM dropped 2 percent, but still managed to dominate sales in the country with 649,637.
Ford Motor Co., which slid 3 percent to 580,260 units, was second. At third was Toyota Motor Sales USA, posting a 2-percent dive to 520,997 units. Volkswagen Group of America saw its sales fall 7 percent to 133,514 sales, good for an eighth-place finish in the first quarter for 2014. Overall sales in the US surge 1 percent.
Toyota’s robust performance in the first three months of 2014 – its last fiscal quarter – represents a strong finish for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, which it expects to have been its most profitable with a forecasted record profit of JPY1.9 trillion profit ($18.5 billion), primarily because of the weaker yen.
Despite its dominance, Toyota is facing a strong contest from VW, which is aiming to sell as many vehicles as Toyota this through an expansion in China and a recovery in Europe. Masatoshi Nishimoto, an analyst at IHS automotive in Tokyo, told Bloomberg that they expect Toyota to remain as the No. 1 carmaker until 2016 or 2017.
He remarked that Toyota may need to grow more in China if it wants to retain its crown beyond those years. Toyota has surrendered some of its gains this year, no thanks to the slowing depreciation of the yen and recall-related costs. It agreed in March pay a record $1.2 billion fine in the US for misleading consumers over safety defects. Toyota also recalled over 6 million vehicles to fix various safety defects.