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Toyota retains the number 1 position worldwide
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Toyota retains the number 1 position worldwide as the largest automaker by sales.

Toyota retains the number 1 position worldwide as the largest automaker by sales, surpassing its German rival Volkswagen for the fourth consecutive year.
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Despite maintaining its global dominance, Toyota faces potential challenges due to ongoing scandals related to vehicle inspections and lingering issues with exploding airbags. Toyota recently reported a record-breaking 11.2 million vehicles sold worldwide in 2023, marking a 7.2% increase from the previous year. In comparison, Volkswagen Group disclosed delivering 9.2 million vehicles, reflecting a 12% rise from 2022.

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The rivalry between Toyota and Volkswagen for the top carmaker title has been ongoing, with Toyota initially claiming the position in 2012 before Volkswagen surpassed it in 2017. Toyota attributes its recent growth to robust demand globally and a reduction in semiconductor shortages. While sales in Japan surged by 20.9%, overseas sales saw a more modest increase of 4.1%.

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However, Toyota’s triumph may be overshadowed by current troubles. The company has suspended shipments of certain models following irregularities in certification tests for diesel engines developed by its affiliate, Toyota Industries. This comes after Daihatsu, owned by Toyota, admitted to falsifying safety test results, leading to domestic production halts.

To address these challenges, Toyota plans to take corrective measures, including conducting new engine certification tests in the presence of regulators. The company acknowledges the severity of the situation, stating that the repeated certification irregularities have shaken the foundations of the company as an automobile manufacturer.

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Moreover, Toyota issued recalls in the United States, urging owners of around 50,000 vehicles, including specific Corolla and RAV4 models dating back to 2003, to address potential issues with airbags exploding, causing serious harm. These recalls add to Toyota’s history of recalling tens of millions of cars in recent years due to faulty Takata airbags and other defects.

Volkswagen, Toyota’s primary competitor, experienced growth in all regions, particularly in Europe and North America. However, China’s challenging market environment limited its growth to 1.6%. The fierce competition in China’s auto market, exacerbated by a price war initiated by Tesla, has affected industry-wide profitability.

Meanwhile, Chinese electric automaker BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, witnessed a substantial rise in net income in 2023, although it marked a slowdown compared to the previous year. BYD recently surpassed Tesla as the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles. Legacy automakers like Volkswagen are also intensifying efforts to increase their electric vehicle sales, recording a nearly 35% jump in fully electric vehicle sales in 2023. In contrast, Toyota, a leader in hybrid cars, sold 3.7 million electric vehicles in 2023, showcasing its lag in the global electric vehicle race.

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