Toyota Is Now World's Top Selling Automaker

Toyota sold 2.348 million vehicles versus GM's sale of 2.26 million.

Toyota Motor Corp. became the world's top selling automaker in the first quarter of 2007, overtaking rival General Motors helped by brisk demand for fuel-efficient cars, figures showed April 24. Toyota sold 2.348 million vehicles in the first quarter of 2007, a company spokesman said, beating GM which earlier reported record global sales of 2.26 million cars and trucks for the same period.

Toyota also reported global production of about 2.367 million vehicles for the first quarter, while GM has forecast lower output of 2.335 million units.

The company is enjoying strong sales, particularly in the U.S., as higher prices at the pump boost demand for compact cars, small sport utility vehicles and hybrids which use a mix of electricity and petrol.

It is expected to report later this month a seventh consecutive year of record profits on the back of brisk shipments overseas. Toyota has forecast an operating income of 2.20 trillion yen (US$18.55 billion) for the fiscal year to March 2007, which would make it the first Japanese company to post a two trillion yen operating profit.

Toyota has also been expanding its production in the U.S., as it broke ground last week on its eighth North American manufacturing plant, a $1.3 billion facility in Blue Springs, Miss.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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