Jun 20, 2011

Toyota content with losing No. 1 title

Toyota’s reign as the world’s number one automaker – at least in terms of overall sales – is likely to be short-lived, something the Japanese automaker says it can live with.

Toyota took over the title of number one in 2007 when it surged ahead of General Motors to become the world’s largest car manufacturer. But quality-related issues like massive global recalls caused sales to stumble in 2009 and 2010. But the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan earlier this year crippled production, which erased any chance of Toyota retaining its crown.
Still, the Japanese automaker says it is optimistic and that it won’t let the loss of stature get it down.
“There is no meaning in us being the global number one,” Toyota executive vice president Satoshi Ozawa said.
Toyota never actually set a goal of becoming the world’s largest automaker, but its goal of a 15 percent global market share essentially ensured that it would be the largest automaker if it reached its goal.
Buoyed by strong demand in Asia and North America, GM will likely command the largest share of the world car market, although Germany’s Volkswagen is setting itself up for the number one spot within the next few years, assuming its level of growth continues.

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