Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) recaptured the position of the world’s top automaker by dethroning archrival General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) in 2012. The automaker slipped to the third spot behind GM and Volkswagen in 2011 after its supply chain got disturbed when its production unit got hit by the Tsunami in Japan, followed by the floods in Thailand.
Toyota had challenged GM’s top spot in 2008 by putting an end to its 77 years record of holding the title of the top global auto giant. After being hit by the natural disaster in 2011, Toyota made a solid comeback in 2012 to acquire its lost spot by posting sales of 9.75 million vehicles, beating its own estimate of 9.7 million vehicles. The Japanese carmaker’s Scion, Hino, Lexus, and Diahatsu brands reported solid sales performance witnessing an increase of 23%. Let’s check out the details.
In regaining the lost ground – ‘make fine products’
Toyota’s impressive return to the top is attributable to the company’s strong product lineup supported by the marketing initiatives it made during the year. Toyota spokesperson Shino Yamada says that the solid figures are the ‘result of our policy…to make fine products.’
The US market has been pretty rewarding for the automaker, where it witnessed a remarkable jump of 26.6% to 2.08 million vehicles sold during the year, driven by its attractive lineup. In addition, the auto giant recognized the potential of the emerging markets and so is investing heavily in these nations. The Prius-maker plans to increase its focus in these markets and is designing cars to suit the need of the customers here. Other than this, the company’s cost cutting measures also had a favorable impact on its performance. The company also benefited from the huge pent-up demand from the buyers.
What about its fellow rivals?
The auto giant’s overall global sales rose 23% to 9.75 units compared to the prior year figure, and this includes the deliveries from its subsidiaries Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor. On the other hand, GM’s global sales totaled 9.29 million units, followed by German maker Volkswagen’s sales of 9.07 million units. Domestic rival Nissan Motor recorded a sale of 4.94 million vehicles, while Honda Motor Co Ltd (NYSE:HMC) witnessed sales rise of 19% to 3.82 million units during the year.
As per Autodata Corp, Toyota’s market share in the US increased from 12.9% to 14.4% in 2012, which helped it in reducing its gap with GM’s 17.9% market share. The company is closely behind Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), which covers 15.5% of the US auto market. Automotive consulting firm Polk estimates Ford’s market share will fall further to 15% in 2013 and 14.5% in 2014.
So what is the current year outlook for the lead automaker?