Toyota held onto its status as the world's top-selling automaker in the first quarter of this year, although the three-way race with General Motors and Volkswagen is proving tight, as its sales fall in China and Japan.
Compact sedan Toyota Vios
Toyota Motor Corp reported on Wednesday it sold 2.43 million vehicles during the January-March period, outpacing the US automaker General Motors Co at 2.36 million vehicles and Volkswagen AG of Germany at 2.27 million vehicles.
Toyota's first quarter sales declined 2.2% from a year earlier, while those for GM were up 3.6% and Volkswagen's jumped 5.1%.
GM's quarterly results were within about 69,000 vehicles of Toyota's.
The Japanese maker of the Prius hybrid and Camry sedan reclaimed its crown as world's top automaker last year, after losing it to GM a year earlier, when it was battered by the tsunami and quake disasters in northeastern Japan.
GM had been No. 1 for seven decades before losing that title to Toyota in 2008.
Toyota has been hit by a resurgence of anti-Japanese sentiment in China because of a territorial dispute over tiny islands, and some Chinese are worried about being seen driving a Japanese car. The company says the situation is slowly improving but getting back to solid growth again is likely to take some time.
The end of subsidies for green vehicles in Japan hurt Toyota sales in its home market. Such incentives had previously helped boost sales of its popular hybrid models.
Toyota's quarterly vehicle sales were down 13% in China and down 15% in Japan, compared to the same period last year.
"Rather than pursuing numbers, we try to sell one car at a time, producing good cars. We aren't focused on being No. 1," said company spokeswoman Shino Yamada.