DETROIT — Toyota has once again dethroned General Motors as the world’s top-selling automaker.
Highlights from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.General Motors’ Cadillac ATS and Chrysler’s Ram 1500 pickup won the 2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year. GM unleashed the 2014 Corvette Stingray, the seventh generation of the classic sports car and the first since 2005.Chrysler said its top-selling Grand Cherokee is making the jump to diesel power.Nissan said it is lowering the price of its 2013 Leaf electric car to $28,800, or $6,000 lower than the previous model. Toyota hints at a more daring style for the 2014 Corolla with the Furia concept.Honda offered a peek at a smaller “Urban SUV Concept.”Sources: AP; MCT.
The Japanese company sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2012, although it’s still counting. GM sold 9.29 million.
Both companies saw higher sales, but Toyota’s growth was far larger as it rolled out new versions of popular models like the Camry. GM executives promised sales growth this year, especially in the U.S. Both companies said publicly that they don’t care about who wins, but conceded that the crown is an important morale booster for employees.
GM was the top-selling carmaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. But GM retook the sales crown in 2011 when Toyota’s factories were slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The disaster left Toyota dealers with few cars to sell. The company has since recovered.
Toyota’s comeback from the earthquake, and flooding in Thailand, is only part of the story, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area industry forecasting firm. The company also has freshened up its stale midsize sedan, the Camry, the top-selling car in the United States. GM’s global sales rose 2.9 percent last year, it announced Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Toyota sales rose 22 percent.
Schuster expected Toyota to keep the lead over GM this year as it launches a new Corolla. “I think that’s going to be enough to keep them in their position,” he said.
Toyota builds 70 percent of the cars it sells in the U.S. in North America.