World

Toyota remains world's top car seller, widens lead on Volkswagen

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A Toyota Kenya showroom in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Japan's Toyota Motor Co said on Friday its vehicle sales rose by 10.1 percent last year, making it the world's biggest carmaker for a second straight year and putting it further ahead of its nearest rival, Germany's Volkswagen AG.

The carmaker said sales were 10.5 million vehicles in 2021, including those by affiliates Daihatsu Motors and Hino Motors.

That compares with 8.9 million delivered by Volkswagen in the same period, five percent fewer than in 2020 and its lowest sales figures in 10 years.

Carmakers have been forced to cut output because a shortage of semiconductors during the coronavirus pandemic disrupted supply chains, boosting competition for the key component among makers of consumer electronic devices.

However, the Japanese company has weathered the pandemic better than most other carmakers because its home market, Japan, and parts of Asia, have been less affected than Europe.

Toyota, which releases third-quarter earnings on February 9, has said it is likely to fall short of a production target of 9 million vehicles in the business year that ends on March 31 because of disruptions linked to Covid-19.

In 2020, Toyota sold 9.5 million vehicles around the world, overtaking Volkswagen's 9.3 million.

The previous time Toyota held the top spot was in 2015, with Volkswagen edging it out in the following years.