Toyota Tops GM and Volkswagen Again — Except in China

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Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) said Monday that it sold 2.5 million vehicles in the most recent quarter. That was 2.8% more that in the same period of last year. It also compares to the 2.4 million vehicles reported from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and the 2.3 million from Volkswagen for the similar period.

Analysts have forecast a record profit from Toyota for the current fiscal year. Much of the credit for the company’s success goes to policies of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — known as Abenomics — that have weakened the yen and benefited the nation’s largest manufacturers and exporters, as well as helped its economy recover from three recessions in the past five years.

In the first nine months of 2013, Toyota also outsold GM and Volkswagen, putting it on track to lead the industry for a second consecutive year. Toyota said it sold about 7.41 million vehicles, while GM sold 7.25 million and Volkswagen some 7.03 million.

In China, the world’s largest auto market, Toyota sales grew 11% to about 220,000 vehicles in the period that ended in September. That was its  the fastest growth there in five quarters. However, GM reported sales in China of 745,026 vehicles, a gain of 12%. And Volkswagen estimated its deliveries in China and Hong Kong increased to more than 800,000.

Toyota shares have gained 58% this year. GM shares are up about 23%, while Volkswagen is little changed year to date.