Toyota unseats GM as top producer in 07
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Agence France-Presse . Tokyo

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp said Monday that it had produced almost 9.498 million vehicles in 2007, leapfrogging US rival General Motors to become the world number one in terms of production.

Toyota, which sold slightly fewer vehicles than GM last year, said it produced 9,497,754 vehicles in 2007, including subsidiaries truck maker Hino Motors Ltd and small car specialist Daihatsu Motor Co, an increase of 5.3 per cent from 2006.

The tally is slightly below an earlier forecast by the Japanese automaker for output of 9.51 million vehicles in 2007.

But it is still easily ahead of GM, which said earlier this month that it had produced 9.284 million vehicles worldwide in 2007.

In terms of sales, Toyota has yet to end GM’s 76-year reign as the world number one, lagging slightly behind its US rival in 2007.

Toyota said last week it sold 9.366 million vehicles last year, only around 3,500 vehicles fewer than GM, which reported global sales of 9,369,524.

Japan’s top automaker, the pioneer of eco-friendly hybrids, has grown rapidly in the United States and other overseas markets, while financially troubled GM has been forced to shutter factories and lay off tens of thousands of workers.

Toyota has been careful not to gloat about its success in the United States, fearing a protectionist backlash of the type seen when Japanese automakers first seriously penetrated the market in the 1980s.

Honda Motor remained Japan’s second-largest automaker in 2007 in terms of production with output of almost 3.912 million vehicles, up 7.7 per cent from 2006.

Nissan Motor Co came in third with output of around 3.431 million vehicles, an increase of 6.2 per cent.

Fourth-placed Mitsubishi Motors Corp said its global production jumped 7.5 per cent to 1.412 million vehicles last year.

Among the top five Japanese automakers, only Mazda Motor Corp — an affiliate of US giant Ford Motor — saw a drop in output, with global production slipping 1.9 per cent to 1.287 million vehicles.

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