Toyota has again beat out General Motors to become the world's largest car manufacturer. In the first quarter of 2012, Toyota sold 2.49 million cars, again pushing ahead of GM, who sold 2.28 million. Coming in at number three is Germany’s Volkswagon, with sales of 2.16 million.
Toyota first beat out GM in 2008, but then saw setbacks after the Japanese earthquake, Thai floods and various recalls, which prompted a loss of the top spot in 2010. Though, sales of the new Camry and Prius in the U.S. have bolstered business, allowing it to again surpass GM. Roughly 4 million Toyota hybrid models have been sold worldwide since 1997, with 1.5 million of those bought in the U.S. - though it was recently reported that the majority of hybrid owners don't go on to buy a second hybrid.
A back and forth battle for the top spot should be expected in the coming quarters, and GM plans to relaunch the marketing of the all-electric Volt, while Volkswagon plans to sell 10 million cars by 2018. Perhaps Volkswagon will market it's magnet-powered hovercar. This commercial for the concept car is off the chain:
Toyota has so far sold roughly 1.2 million Prius models in the U.S., and offers the classic Prius, the larger Prius V, the compact Prius C and the plug-in model. The company also makes hybrid versions of the Camry and Highlander, as well as high-end Lexus models.