TOKYO (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen has kept its lead as the world's largest automaker after Japanese rival Toyota announced it sold fewer vehicles last year. Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it sold 10.74 million vehicles around the world in 2019, trailing Volkswagen AG's record annual sales of 10.97 million vehicles.
In 2018, Volkswagen sold 10.83 million vehicles, edging out Toyota for the No. 1 crown. Toyota, which makes the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models, said 2019 marked the fourth consecutive year of rising global vehicles sales. It marked a 1.4 percent rise from the previous year.
Both Toyota and Volkswagen say they do not see being the global leader as their priority but are focusing on delivering on products and results. The sales tallies are still a solid indicator for a manufacturer's success in a globalized, intensely competitive industry.
U.S. automaker General Motors Co. held the title of top automaker for more than seven decades before losing it to Toyota in 2008, and no longer has a shot at the top spot. Also falling out of contention was the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.
Global sales for the alliance among Japan's Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA of France and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., a smaller Japanese automaker, totaled about 10 million vehicles last year. Sales for the alliance suffered after the arrest in November 2018 of Carlos Ghosn, a former chief executive and chairman of Nissan, who now faces various financial misconduct allegations in Japan.
Ghosn has said he is innocent and has accused Nissan and Japanese government officials of conspiring to remove him. Ghosn stunned the world by skipping bail late last year and showing up in Lebanon, where he has citizenship.
AP Business Writer David McHugh in Frankfurt contributed to this report.