• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Toyota remains world’s largest automaker

Toyota remains world’s largest automaker

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation has managed to ward off the rising threat coming from Germany’s Volkswagen by securing the global annual sales crown for a third consecutive year, buoyed by record US deliveries.

According to a company statement, global sales of Toyota, including its subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd and Daihatsu Motor Co. modestly increased by 3 percent to 10.23 million units in 2014 which was enough to fend off Volkswagen’s recently reported 4.2 percent rise to 10.14 million autos – though the Germans did include an unspecified number of vehicles from the two heavy-truck divisions.

General Motors, America’s biggest automaker, remained third with sales soaring 2.1 percent to 9.92 million vehicles while Toyota’s record market share gain in the US was coming from surging demand for sport-utility vehicle such as the compact RAV4 and mid-size Highlander prompting plans for increased local output capacity of the models in 2015, coupled with more exports coming from Japan.

Analysts see President Akio Toyoda’s plan to impose a factory-building freeze as a strategy to keep up profitability and they also forecast that in the coming years, VW might surge past Toyota to become the world’s largest carmaker.

Reports say VW and GM are both adding output capacity in China especially to assert their current dominant position on the world’s biggest auto market.

Additionally, Japan-based carmaker Toyota also predicted that 2015 sales could be slightly lower than in 2014, sliding 1 percent to 10.15 million vehicles. So far, its runner-ups have not engaged in delivery forecasts for the current year.

Read also: Toyota regains lead as world’s largest automaker

In a related development, Toyota is giving its top-selling US passenger car a makeover for the 2015 model year, introducing the new Camry at the New York International Auto Show. For the “sweeping redesign” of the mid-size sedan, the team of engineers stripped it down to its chassis and rebuilt it from the ground up.

With this development, Toyota is giving the latest Camry’s exterior a sportier look with a wider, more prominent trapezoidal grille. The sedan has been lengthened by 1.8 inches and widened by 0.4 inches.

Engine options carry over from the 2014 model, including the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or 3.5-litre V-6 gasoline engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Hybrid’s 2.5-litre Atkinson Cycle engine returns with hybrid synergy drive paired with electronic continuously variable transmission.

The interior gets several upgrades, including a new 4.2 TFT screen and three-dimensional Optitron gauges on SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels and the array of standard safety features includes a lane departure alert, blind spot monitor, and a rear cross traffic alert.

In 2012, commercial fleets registered 4,155 Camry sedans, while rental operators added 52,768 vehicles even as fleet sales made up 16.1 percent of total sales that year. Since its introduction, the Toyota Camry has continued to appeal to the tastes and preferences of many car shoppers.

MIKE OCHONMA