Which Car Manufacturer Took Top Honors in 2012?

Toyota Motor Corporation’s (NYSE:TM) 2011 production woes are firmly in the past; the company regained its title of the world’s largest automobile manufacturer in 2012.

With record sales of 9.75 million vehicles last year, a 23 percent improvement over the previous year, Toyota took back the top spot from General Motors (NYSE:GM) and fended off Volkswagen’s (VLKAY.PK) competition. In comparison, the company’s American competitor sold 9.29 million vehicles in 2012, while its German rival sold 9.07 million.

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Higher demand for Toyota’s Prius hybrids, its sedans such as the Camry, and its SUVs like the Lexus RX 350 pushed the company to the number one spot, a position it held for three years beginning in 2008. Previously, GM had been the world’s largest manufacturer for more than seven decades.

The company was also helped by the weaker yen, which fell against the dollar in the last few months. This may be a positive indicator for the company’s quarterly profits as it makes Japanese exports more competitive abroad, said The Wall Street Journal.