Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it sold 5.02 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, down 1.5 percent from the same period the previous year, as sales struggled especially in the languishing Japanese market.
Volkswagen AG said earlier this month that it sold 5.04 million vehicles during the same period. Sales were robust in Europe and North America but fell in China, usually a strong market for the company. Its first-half sales were 0.5 percent down from the same period in 2014.
Detroit-based General Motors Corp., the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades until being surpassed by Toyota in 2008, finished third at 4.86 million, down 1.2 percent from a year ago.
GM retook the sales crown in 2011, when Toyota’s production was hurt by the quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
In the first half, Toyota’s sales grew in U.S., Mexico and China.
Last year, Toyota sold 10.23 million vehicles, beating Volkswagen and GM. But it has said it’s expecting to sell fewer trucks and cars this year, forecasting sales will fall 1 percent year-on-year to 10.15 million vehicles.
GM, which makes the Cadillac and Opel cars, was third at 9.92 million vehicles in global sales last year.
The ranking could still change when numbers come in for the entire year.
None of the automakers say they are trying to be No. 1 for the sake of being No. 1. But the industry crown is coveted and significant.