Toyota wins back world’s top auto sales crown from GM

TOKYO/DETROIT, Mon Jan 28, 2013 — Toyota Motor Corp. regained the crown as the world’s top selling automaker in 2012, posting record-high sales and beating rivals General Motors and Volkswagen.

Toyota said on Monday it sold 9.75 million vehicles group-wide around the world last year, a record for the 75-year-old Japanese automaker and up 22.6 percent from a year ago.

The result was in line with the company’s December forecast, and put it back in the No. 1 spot, which it lost in 2011 when it was hit by a wave of negative publicity after a recall crisis in the United States, and a disrupted supply chain following an earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand.

Toyota held the global sales crown from 2008 through 2010, but fell to third place in 2011 behind GM and Volkswagen.

GM sold 9.28 million vehicles in 2012, up 2.9 percent from a year ago, while Volkswagen sold 9.07 million vehicles, up 11.2 percent.

Toyota aims to sell 9.91 million vehicles group-wide globally in 2013, up 1.6 percent from 2012.

The Toyota group also includes sales at Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd. Toyota-only sales hit a record-high 8.72 million vehicles, up 22.8 percent on a year ago.

Toyota’s domestic rival Nissan Motor Co. said on Monday it sold a record 4.94 million vehicles globally in 2012, while Honda Motor Co. sold 3.82 million vehicles, up 19 percent.





U.S. expands fire probe to 1.4 million Toyota vehicles

TORRANCE, Calif., Mon Jun 18, 2012 – Some 1.4 million Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles are being scrutinized more closely by U.S. safety regulators looking for possible increased fire risk, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Monday.

The expanded probe includes the manufacturer’s best-selling Camry sedan from model years 2007 to 2009.

The probe was upgraded to an engineering analysis from a preliminary investigation, which may lead to an eventual recall. Often engineering analyses are closed without a recall.

Fires have been reported at a high rate for Toyota models built from September 2006 to August 2008 that all have the same power window master switch design, the NHTSA said on its website.

Nine injuries and 161 crashes or fires have been reported to either NHTSA or Toyota, but no deaths, NHTSA said. NHTSA reported there were another 49 warranty claims of fires or “thermal events” among the affected vehicles.

The expanded probe affects the 2007-2009 model year Camry, Camry Hybrid, RAV4 and Yaris vehicles, as well as 2008 Highlander Hybrid SUV.

In February, an investigation was opened by NHTSA into about 830,000 model year 2007 Camry and RAV4 vehicles. Monday’s action expanded that to 1,424,747 vehicles, NHTSA said.

Toyota, Ford to work on gasoline-electric hybrids for trucks

DETROIT ― Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. will work together to develop gasoline-electric trucks and SUVs that will be ready for market by the end of the decade, the two companies said on Monday.

Ford and Toyota plan to collaborate on product development for the future rear-wheel drive hybrid vehicles as well as for telephone, Internet and entertainment systems.

Working as equal partners to develop hybrid SUVs and trucks will help each meet stringent U.S. federal fuel economy regulations, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s product development chief.

There are no plans for collaboration beyond rear-wheel drive hybrids and on-board phone, navigation and entertainment systems, Kuzak said.

Toyota has been the world leader in hybrids since it introduced the Prius sedan in 1997. It has since sold 3.3 million hybrid vehicles, led by the Prius.

Ford has been a leader in pickup trucks, which are predominantly sold in the United States and Canada. Its F-series pickup trucks have been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market since the 1970s.

The two companies will work on the details of a fuller agreement expected “sometime in 2012” that will lay out more specifically how they will collaborate, said Kuzak.

“We have a lot of details to work out with Ford before we can talk about our cooperation with Ford” more fully, said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s vice president for research and development.

Costs and scope of the collaboration have not yet been worked out, Uchiyamada said, and he said it was too early to tell if one company may bear more of the costs.