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by Jay Traugott
The race to become the world's largest automaker isn't over - VW is also now in the mix.
According to a new report coming from Bloomberg News, Toyota Motor Company has once again overtaken General Motors as the world's largest automaker for the first business quarter of 2012. After sales took a dive in the wake of Toyota's unintended acceleration fiasco and the horrific natural disasters that struck Japan in March 2011, the automaker's sales have evidently recovered much faster than many had expected.
All told, Toyota sales rose 18 percent to 2.49 million units in the first quarter while GM sales topped off at 2.16 million during the same time. From 2008 until 2010, Toyota was the world's largest automaker. Because of those aforementioned incidents plus the flooding in Thailand a couple of years ago, they lost that place to GM as the latter rose from the dark side of bankruptcy. Toyota also stated that they're predicting profits that will more than double to a five-year high as they continue to rebound and regain market shares. In the U.S. alone, Toyota's sales rose 12 percent through April, which was better than the industry's overall 10 percent rise.
The report also states that Toyota's U.S. pace may slow later this year because it had higher-than-usual fleets sales in the first months of this year. All told, those fleet sales accounted for some 10 percent of Toyota's U.S. sales. However, Volkswagen has also been gaining traction as well and on a global scale, "Toyota, GM, and VW will remain locked in a tight race for the sales lead."